More than one-third of Pakistan is under water because of heavy monsoon rains which began in June and culminated in destructive floods at the end of August. Now, the death toll is over 1,500 and it is thought that over 33 million people have been affected. It is suspected that it could take months for the floodwaters to recede.
Many people have lost their homes and have no access to food, shelter, or clean drinking water. Some people have been so hard to reach because of floodwaters, they did not receive assistance for weeks.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are on the ground in Pakistan, providing emergency support to those affected by the flooding.
How we're responding in Pakistan
Our teams are responding to the floods in the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa. We're providing consultations through mobile clinics to people who are sheltering in camps, as well as people who have been made hard-to-reach because of floodwaters. Our medical teams have treated people for skin diseases, diarrhoea, malaria, eye infections, and more. In Punjab province, we conducted a needs assessment and plan to launch an emergency response.
Water and sanitation needs are great, with people unable to access safe drinking water. Throughout the country we have provided over 300,000 litres of clean drinking water and this number will grow as our water and sanitation teams continue their lifesaving work.
Response in Sindh province
In Dadu district, our teams have been operating two mobile clinics that have been treating people with skin diseases, malaria, and diarrhoea. So far, we have seen over 1,500 people with these mobile clinics. We have also had to use boats to assess the needs of remote villages that have been cut off from assistance because of the floodwaters. At different camps in Dadu district we have provided over 20,000 litres of clean drinking water per day.
In the north of Sindh province, assessments are being done in Sukkur city, and MSF’s water and sanitation teams have already started providing clean drinking water. We have installed water tanks with a capacity of 24,000 litres, which are being refilled daily. Over 200,000 litres of water have been provided to displaced people taking shelter in Labour Colony flats and Lab-e-Mehran camp in Sukkur district.
Response in Balochistan province
We also have two mobile clinics for outpatient consultation in the districts of Naseerabad and Jaffarabad. With these mobile clinics, our teams have been seeing people for malaria, fever, skin diseases, diarrhoea, and eye infections. These clinics have provided 7,000 people with medical care.
In Chaman, we have provided 450 medical consultations, and in Quetta, over 800 outpatient consultations. In these cities, we have been treating mostly respiratory infections and acute watery diarrhoea.
“People are sitting alongside the main road, and you can see that many of them have already received help. They have, among other things, mosquito nets, hygiene packs and food. On the other hand, those who are away from the main road are left on their own, because they are difficult to access. We reached a group that had not received help since the floods started. MSF was the first to get to them. Our team took care of them and helped with the health issues they were experiencing.
Many people have lost everything. In addition, because they live at the roadside they do not have access to clean water and toilets. For women in particular it is difficult because they have to go to great lengths to meet their needs. People find it difficult to protect themselves from the extreme temperatures we experience - up to 50 degrees celsius. Some of those sitting on the side of the road have only some hand-woven beds stacked on top of each other with a piece of cloth or plastic to shield them from the sun.
The stagnant water leads to ill health, and the situation is not likely to improve. We are seeing patients with water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, skin diseases and eye infections.
The challenges are many and great. There is a battle for medicine and human resources, both doctors and nurses, and in many areas, it is very difficult to reach people. We are trying to help as best as possible.
There are such huge needs, we are happy that we can be here to help.”
Response in Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa:
In Charsadda district, we have launched three mobile clinics in villages located next to riverbanks. The houses in these villages have been partially or completely destroyed, and villagers are now facing outbreaks of water-borne diseases.
In the last week, the medical teams have seen 983 people with respiratory tract infections, eye infections, acute diarrhoea, severe skin infections, and chronic diseases. Our teams have distributed non-food items to over 600 families in these villages.
Needs assessment in Punjab
Our emergency response teams have identified high needs for access to primary healthcare and the provision of safe drinking water in southern Punjab. We are looking into starting emergency response activities in Rajanpur district.