Pakistan has been inundated during the summer by heavy rains and glaciers that have submerged a third of the country.
Islamabad, Pakistan – A United Nations report on Pakistan’s floods says more than 240,000 people in the southern province of Sindh are homeless, while satellite images show about 8 million “are still at risk of flooding or live near flood zones”.
According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which was released on Tuesday, at least 12 districts continue to report standing water, 10 of which are in Sindh and two in Balochistan.
Pakistan saw floods this summer after heavy rains and melting glaciers submerged a third of the country, killing more than 1,700 people and affecting 33 million people.
Buildings, roads, bridges and railways were washed away, with the government estimating the damage at more than $30bn.
The UN report says that although water shortages have allowed millions of people to return to their homes, they continue to face shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine. It adds that flood-affected areas are now struggling with health-related problems, although statistics show a decline.
Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN report said that malaria cases have decreased by 25 percent in Balochistan, 58 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 67 percent in Sindh since the beginning of September.
The report added that high numbers of malaria and cholera cases are still being reported from Sindh and Balochistan regions, indicating a “high risk” in those regions.
The UN report also stated that more than 600,000 children in Pakistan have not received the polio vaccine due to lack of access to areas that have been devastated by floods. Pakistan remains one of the two countries in the world, along with Afghanistan, that have not been declared polio-free.
The report reviewed the food security situation in Pakistan. Quoting the World Food Program (WFP), a UN agency, said that the number of people in need of adequate food was recorded in Sindh (3.9 million) and Balochistan (1.6 million).
“Evidence from the available data shows that the relief efforts so far are almost complete, and more than 5.1 million people are now facing IPC 4 in the flood-affected areas,” he said, adding that an additional 1.1 million could fall. in the same way. team by early 2023.
The IPC food insecurity category distinguishes between different levels of food insecurity, with level four indicating an emergency and level five being a disaster or famine.
Farida Shaheed, a former Special Rapporteur of OCHA and an expert on rights-based development, told Al Jazeera that the government’s emergency response after this year’s floods does not have a long-term solution.
“The destruction is great. It is not something that can be fixed in months or a year. People have lost their homes, their crops, their livestock, and their wealth. “I have not seen anything that the government has done in a long time,” he said.
“Nevertheless stories were abounding and now they are all here. The damage caused by the floods is far from over, but it all came a long time ago. Our development policies were not effective and now we are seeing the consequences.