Pakistan At High Risk Of Potential Disease Outbreaks, Warns UN

by VR Sreeraman on  June 5, 2009 at 2:55 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
UN officials warned Thursday against potential disease outbreaks among two million Pakistanis displaced by an army offensive against the Taliban, reiterating that aid money was running out.
 Pakistan At High Risk Of Potential Disease Outbreaks, Warns UN
Pakistan At High Risk Of Potential Disease Outbreaks, Warns UN

The UN has appealed for 543 million dollars to help the displaced, but Daniel Baker, from the UN Population Fund, said the health sector had so far received only 11 percent of the requested amount.

"With the monsoon season fast approaching, concerns are growing about an increase in avoidable sickness and death due to disease outbreaks, such as acute respiratory infection, acute diarrhoea, malaria and meningitis."

He added: "69,300 women are pregnant. Nearly six thousand women displaced in the conflict are expected to give birth within the next month."

UN officials said donors had only pledged 22 percent of the total money needed for food, medicine, shelter and other assistance.

"More and more people are coming in the camps. Their hosts are running out of money -- we will face very severe problems if we have no sufficient funds," said Manuel Bessler, head of the UN humanitarian agency in Pakistan.

"Some sectors have already indicated that supplies such as food and essential medicines may not be sustainable beyond early July unless the international community rapidly and generously responds to these acute needs."

The military launched its operation in the districts of Lower Dir on April 26, Buner on April 28 and Swat on May 8, after Taliban fighters advanced to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Islamabad.

Pakistan has called for one billion dollars to help the uprooted civilians rebuild their lives, with most living in overcrowded homes of friends and relatives, or crammed into government-run camps.

"The humanitarian community is facing an unprecedented financial crisis," the UN's World Health Organisation said in a statement.

Source: AFP

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