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Flood-devastated, Sindh people are still awaiting help

Muzammil Ferozi

KARACHI: Even after a year has passed but many flood-affected areas of Sindh are facing difficulties; As the displaced people return to their places of origin, they faced an increased risk of disease transmission driven by damaged infrastructure, stagnant water, and inadequate sanitation facilities, the People of District Badin are spending awfully miserable life as the flood water has not been drained due to which health issues are arising specially in women and children, there is no any medical facility near the village, TFD learnt.
According to a report in flood-affected areas people don’t have access to clean drinking water in their communities. Around 70% people don’t have access to basic hygiene supplies, and 55% don’t have access to sufficient water. Similarly, 78% of women and girls face difficulties to access latrine facilities while overall 66% of the population does not have access to toilet facilities. 100% of community Key Informants from all flood affected districts reported that there is no access of women and girls to any menstrual hygiene supplies after the catastrophic situation.
During the survey it was learnt that the people are compelled to live in poor health hygiene which is being caused of skin diseases, Diarrhea, Malaria and waterborne diseases. Farming was the only source of livelihood, but due to stagnant floodwater, people have started work as labour.
A 56 years old Dhado, from Jarar Bhail Village told that the 15 women delivered their babies in tents and three of them died during the last month adding that he lamented waters have not fully receded, and authorities have not been able to recede and drain the flood water that is why the residents of Jarar Bhail Village, Soomar Bhail Village and Meero Khan Lashari Village are still living in the tents and have not been able to rebuild their houses.
Amla, 7 months pregnant women told that we visited so many times Rural Health Centre Pangrio but lady doctor was not available there adding that her husband and children suffered from malaria, while she was down with gastroenteritis. Recalling her time at the camp where she spent more than two months, Amla told that the conditions were dreadful, with no sanitation services or hygiene, as hundreds of men and women were enforced to use the same temporary toilet facilities, with limited water, she lamented
A woman, Gulabi whose 10 months baby died after birth, with tears in eyes she told that after flood in camp I delivered my baby and “we were in very nasty condition and my baby was low-birth-weight baby and we took her Badin Hospital but she could not survive”, she explained.
According to a lady health worker pregnant women are in a very critical situation. “Somehow we are trying to tackle the cases but due to stagnant water which was contaminated”, adding that hygiene of all the people is at risk as waterborne diseases are increasing and it is all due to drinking-water.
Quratualin Muddasir, a representative of Indus Consortium an NGO engaged in emergency response and highlighting the women specific issues on safeguarding and protection, briefed that more than maternal and reproductive health issues, it is their mental health.
“We have gone to multiple camps across Sindh where thousands of women are stranded, living in awful conditions, and the displacement has caused immense trauma to them. A large number of our female health workers go to these camps and locations where affected communities are, and they have conducted thousands of sessions. But it really is a question of capacity. The flood caused infrastructure damage, resulting in affecting service delivery,” she said.
Qurat explained that they were trying to train health workers to provide psycho-social support. “There are a lot of psychological issues which are being reported, and we need to prepare for that. Here we need to engage female staff, such as more doctors, midwives, nurses, etc.”
Another lady health worker explained that cases of gastroenteritis are being reported daily as people consume polluted water after floods. The situation of water-borne disease will get worse if the situation stays the same.
As per details the rate of stunting among children, which was already high before the floods, will further compound children’s cognitive development. Malnourished pregnant women are also at risk of low-birth-weight babies who will be malnourished. For these women, the risk of displacement, injury and death due to the flooding compounds with that of gender-based violence and the possibility of dangerous commotions to reproductive health care.

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