Islamabad, Jan 12 (EFE).- Nonprofit Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Thursday highlighted the increase in cases of malaria and child malnutrition in several provinces of Pakistan after the massive floods of last summer, which killed 1,700 people and affected around 33 million.
“Despite this being the coldest season of the year, when malaria rates are expected to drop, half of the people examined in MSF’s mobile clinics tested positive in December,” the group said in a statement.
MSF claims to have treated over 42,000 malaria patients over the last three months in the provinces of Sindh (south) and Balochistan (east), and said that “alarming” cases of acute child malnutrition were also concerning.
The NGO said that this data highlights the “inadequate” humanitarian response to the floods, which submerged large areas of the two provinces and made it possible for the residents to travel or till the land.
“In these summer months, the people are increasingly vulnerable. Although the support is focused on recovery and reconstruction, the humanitarian response has not been widened to cover the basic needs of the population,” Edward Taylor, MSF emergency coordinator for northern Sindh and eastern Balochistan, said in the statement.
The MSF call for action comes after the World Health Organization said in November that 540,000 malaria cases had been reported in Pakistan between July and the first half of October, while other diseases such as diarrhea, dengue, measles and diphtheria also showing a spike.
In mid-December, the Pakistani government said that nearly 3.9 million people in Sindh and 1.6 million in Balochistan were facing serious acute food insecurity, with 5.5 million people lacking access to safe and clean drinking water.
The summer 2022 floods in Pakistan affected 33 million people and displaced 8 million – with over 1,700 deaths registered – marking a catastrophe that Pakistani authorities have linked to climate change. The floods caused estimated losses of over $30 billion. EFE