After floods in northwest Pakistan have “already killed up to 1,200 people” and forced 2 million from their homes, authorities are now concerned about disease spread, the Associated Press reports. “To avert the looming threat of spread of waterborne diseases, especially cholera, we have dispatched dozens of mobile medical teams in the affected districts,” said medical official Sohail Altaf. Altaf said no concrete cases of cholera have been reported in the country but “fear of an outbreak is high,” and patients with “stomach problems from dirty water” are being seen in medical camps (Brummitt, 8/2).
Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) visited Pakistan on Thursday “to assess the damage and relief efforts” as flooding continues and millions remain in need of humanitarian aid, the New York Times reports. According to the newspaper Kerry “said the United States would increase its flood aid to $150 million” (Masood/Gall, 8/19).
Pakistani government officials say the death toll from the country’s flooding stands at more than 1,600 and it could rise significantly as flood waters recede and more bodies are identified, CNN reports (8/28). “There is no official estimate of the number of missing because mass displacements have made accounting for them almost impossible,” according to Reuters (Haider, 8/29).
Ten Million Face Hunger In Central Africa; Niger Flooding Exacerbates Food Shortage, Leaves 200,000 Homeless
Flash floods have “worsened an already chronic humanitarian crisis caused by drought” in central Africa where aid agencies have warned that “10 million people are already facing severe food shortages, particularly in the landlocked countries of Chad and Niger, after a drought led to the failure of last year’s crops,” the Independent reports. “Now unusually heavy rains [in Niger] have washed away this year’s crops and killed cattle in a region dependent on subsistence agriculture,” and where only 40 percent of people affected by the food shortages are receiving aid, according to the agencies, including Oxfam and Save the Children.
Also In Global Health News: Meningitis Vaccine; Women And HIV/AIDS Response; Rain Hits West Africa; AIDS 2010
New Meningitis Vaccine Scheduled For ‘Mass Campaign’ In October The WHO “recently gave approval to a new meningitis vaccine that is expected to cost only 50 cents a dose, a price many African governments and donors can afford,”Â the New York TimesÂ reports. The vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of…
Floods: U.N. Issues $459.7M Appeal For Pakistan, China Concerned About Disease Outbreaks After Mudslides
The U.N. appealed for $459.7 million on Wednesday “to aid flood victims in Pakistan as the magnitude of the disaster widened, with about one-fifth of the country submerged and the annual monsoon season still potent,” the New York Times reports (MacFarquhar, 8/11).
A new study shows “that surgery can be safely performed in areas with minimal resources and little or no sophisticated technology,” the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports. The study, published in the Archives of Surgery, examines “almost 20,000 surgical procedures completed in resource-limited areas from 2001 to 2008” by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Roan, 8/16).
World Bank To Provide $900M In Emergency Funding For Pakistan Floods, Country’s High Commissioner Provides Rough Damage Estimate
The World Bank on Monday “pledged to reroute money from other projects to provide $900 million in emergency funding to help Pakistan” with its flood recovery efforts, the New York Times reports (Ellick, 8/17).
Blog: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance Remains A ‘Sound Investment’ In view of World Humanitarian Day, a Huffington PostÂ blog discusses the “lessons” of disaster responseÂ and the global “proliferation of humanitarian crises.” First, the authors write that “the number of people affected by disasters is on the rise,” mostly due to conflict and…
The U.S. and other donor nations “significantly upped their pledges” of aid for the flooding in Pakistan during a U.N. General Assembly meeting on Thursday, in which the U.N. “appeared to [meet] its target of $460 million in immediate aid for flood-stricken Pakistan,” the Associated Press reports.