Emergency medical support following devastating floods in Pakistan
8 September 2003
Heavy monsoon rains, flash floods as well as flooding seas caused devastation in Sindh Province in Pakistan at the end of July. Three coastline districts were particularly hard hit, but the Badin district was the worst affected area. Because there was no immediate medical assistance for the people affected by the floods, MSF started an emergency intervention in Sindh Province, providing basic medical care with mobile clinics. In different communities without access to existing health facilities, two MSF teams organized consultations. The teams have seen approximately 3,200 patients to now, mostly regarding malaria and skin diseases. Surprisingly, diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases are a very low percentage - only between 5% and 13% of the patients - depending on the area. The teams are also screening children between one and five years for malnutrition. In some communities there seems to be reason for concern. Further investigation will be done to determine if a nutritional intervention is necessary. In Thatta district the flood waters have already receded and people displaced by the floods have returned home. But in Badin district some areas are still covered by water, with the risk of malaria and cholera outbreaks or increase of water born diseases. An expert will join the team to try and reduce the risk of epidemic outbreaks.