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Pakistan deploys more doctors to fight diseases after floods

The Associated Press logo The Associated Press 9/23/2022 By MUNIR AHMED, Associated Press
A woman walks at a camp as she take a refuge after leaving her flood-hit homes, in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain) © Provided by Associated Press A woman walks at a camp as she take a refuge after leaving her flood-hit homes, in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has deployed thousands of additional doctors and paramedics in the country's worst flood-hit province to contain the spread of diseases that have killed over 300 people among the flood victims, officials said Friday.

Some of the doctors who refused to work in Sindh province have been fired by the government, according to the provincial health department there. Floods have killed 724 people, including 311 children and 133 women in the province since July.

A pregnant woman carries water as she take a refuge at a camp after leaving her flood-hit homes, in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain) © Provided by Associated Press A pregnant woman carries water as she take a refuge at a camp after leaving her flood-hit homes, in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain)

The monsoon rains and flooding, which many experts say are fueled by climate change, have affected 33 million people, caused at least 1,596 deaths and damaged 2 million homes across Pakistan.

Displaced families, who fled their flood-hit homes, line up to get relief aid in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain) © Provided by Associated Press Displaced families, who fled their flood-hit homes, line up to get relief aid in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain)

About half a million flood survivors are homeless, living in tents and makeshift structures.

In the past two months, Pakistan sent nearly 10,000 additional doctors, nurses and other medical staff to serve survivors at health facilities and at medical camps across Sindh province.

About 18,000 doctors and nearly 38,000 paramedics are treating survivors in the province, according to data from the health department.

Floods have damaged more than 1,000 health facilities in Sindh, forcing survivors to travel to other areas to seek medical help.

Families take a refuge at a camp after leaving their flood-hit homes, in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain) © Provided by Associated Press Families take a refuge at a camp after leaving their flood-hit homes, in Jaffarabad, a district of Baluchistan province, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Devastating floods in Pakistan's worst-hit province have killed 10 more people in the past day, including four children, officials said Wednesday as the U.N. children's agency renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain)

Waterborne and other diseases in the past two months have killed 334 flood victims.

The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to raise the alarm about a “second disaster,” with doctors on the ground racing to battle outbreaks.

Some floodwaters in Pakistan have receded, but many districts in Sindh are still submerged, and displaced people living in tents and makeshift camps face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue fever and malaria, which are on the rise at relief camps.

In this photo released by Pakistan's National Flood Response Coordination Centre, Hollywood actress and U.N. humanitarian Angelina Jolie, second left, attends a meeting with Pakistan's government and military officials about the damage caused by floods, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Jolie was given a briefing by Pakistan's government and military officials on the flood damage. According to a statement released by the NFRCC, a military-backed emergency response center, Jolie said she will inform the world about the scale of devastation caused by the floods and climate change. (National Flood Response Coordination Centre via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by Pakistan's National Flood Response Coordination Centre, Hollywood actress and U.N. humanitarian Angelina Jolie, second left, attends a meeting with Pakistan's government and military officials about the damage caused by floods, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Jolie was given a briefing by Pakistan's government and military officials on the flood damage. According to a statement released by the NFRCC, a military-backed emergency response center, Jolie said she will inform the world about the scale of devastation caused by the floods and climate change. (National Flood Response Coordination Centre via AP)

The devastation has led the United Nations to consider sending more money than it committed during its flash appeal for $160 million to support Pakistan’s flood response.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is in New York, will speak at the U.N. General Assembly on Friday to seek more help from the international community.

On Wednesday, Julien Harneis, the U.N. resident coordinator in Pakistan, said: “The humanitarian situation remains dire in flood-affected areas of Pakistan, with widespread damage to physical infrastructure and ongoing harm to people and livestock.

Outbreaks of diarrhea, typhoid and malaria are increasing rapidly, he said, as millions of people sleep in temporary shelters or in the open in close proximity to stagnating water.

Over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the hardest hit area of Sindh this past week.

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