Benoit de Gryse MSF explains the challenges posed by the Pakistan floods to the BBC.
“The devastation by the floods is enormous, and some towns have been completely washed away. What used to be small streams are now highways of fast-flowing water that are destroying everything in their way” said Josep Prior Tio, Field Coordinator for MSF in Swat. “Many people remain trapped. Some have taken refuge at the top of hills, others are stuck on islands that have been formed as a result of the floods.”
In case of cholera outbreaks, MSF is ready to receive and treat patients in treatment centres in the Dir, Swat and Charsadda districts. The organization is also providing water distribution to health structures in the Dir and Swat districts. “There is a real need to make sure that people have access to clean drinking water, in order to prevent water-borne diseases such as cholera from spreading” said Benoit De Gryse, MSF’s Head of Mission in Pakistan.
MSF has also distributed 750 kits containing hygiene products, cooking sets, aqua tabs, plastic sheeting and jerry cans in Sibi and Nasirabad in the Baluchistan province, and is planning to distribute thousands more in other areas over the coming days.
MSF is supporting basic health units in Mandrakhel, Wadpaga and Gulbela in the Peshawar district. In the Nowshera district MSF is providing assistance to the Paddi hospital where the implementation of mobile clinics already enabled the provision of care to 120 patients.
MSF is working on mobilizing resources and is preparing to send additional personnel to assist with the intervention in the affected areas.
The organization is also continuing to conduct exploratory missions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nowshera and Baluchistan to identify needs and to gain a better understanding of which areas to focus on. A significant challenge is how to reach people stranded in areas that have been cut off by the water. To overcome this barrier, MSF is planning to use a number of helicopters to assess areas that are inaccessible by road.