Flooding Continues to Devastate Pakistan

Misery in Pakistan mounts as flooding hinders relief efforts; threatens to spread waterborne diseases.

UPDATE FROM JULY 31, 2010: Flooding has effected more than 3.2 million people in Northwest Pakistan, leaving 27,000 trapped, and 1,100 dead, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the BBC report.

Rescue efforts remain limited as transport and communication links have been damaged—blocking thousands of Pakistanis from potential relief, the BBC reports. The flooding, which is the country’s worst in 80 years, has also contaminated water wells, limiting drinking water supplies and sparking fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

While the World Health Organization insists that no waterborne disease epidemics have been discovered, it notes that hundreds of thousands of people are still at risk. Meanwhile there have been recent reports of a cholera outbreak in portions of the Swat province, according to the BBC.

Frustration with slow, government-sponsored relief has elicited anger amongst displaced Pakistanis. But responses from the international community have been swift: the United States has pledged $US10 million in aid, while the U.N. World Food Program expects to supply food to 250,000 people by the end of the week, according to the BBC.

Flooding has damaged 80 percent of Pakistan’s infrastructure—destroying drinking water, roads and irrigation channels. The Pakistani military, which has committed more than 30,000 troops for rescue missions, anticipates operations will take at least 10 days, while rebuilding damaged areas could take six months or more.

Sources: BBC, World Health Organization, BBC, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), BBC, United States Department of State

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