Floods and health crisis

When it rains, it pours, goes the saying, and it holds true for Pakistan. While the country was trying to fight off an economic crisis, massive floods ravaged huge areas across the country, especially the southern provinces. The flood-related losses have been estimated to the tune of billions of dollars.

But even worse is the short-term forecast because, in addition to the food crisis, there is a serious health crisis in the offing. Diseases like malaria and dengue usually spread during this time of the year. The number of infected people is feared to be more due to standing floodwater. Besides, other infectious and waterborne diseases may also increase.

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The big question is about our ability to control the looming health crisis. It basically needs collective effort of every institution and the active participation of all the stakeholders.

The federal, provincial and local governments, the armed forces and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should start providing mosquito protection nets to the flood affectees without any delay, and then to continue doing it consistently for months at least. It would be nice if the political opposition may join the effort.

Medical students and doctors should volunteer and while doing their medical stuff, they should spread awareness about infectious diseases among those living in the crisis zones. The provision of clean drinking water and proper toilets at all relief camps and sites is another critical factor.

We cannot stop the floods, but we can minimise the devastation caused by them through practical preventive measures.

MAHEER JEHANGIR CHAUDHARY

LAHORE

Editor's Mail
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