Pregnant women in peril
GENEVA: The massive flooding
that has affected large areas of Pakistan for
months is straining humanitarian agencies budgets,
stretched thin by falling donor contributions as
economies weaken. Care International Thursday
issued a plea for more funding despite the
economic situation, fora particularly vulnerable
group, and pregnant women.
Geneva group notes, “Of
more than five million people currently affected
by floods in Sindh province, approximately 143,750
of them are pregnant women. Of these, 15
percent— or 21,562 women— will need medical
treatment for obstetric complications.” Aid
group says women and children need a range of
services, from family planning to prevention and
treatment of sexual violence, clean delivery
services, emergency obstetric and newborn
Care notes that to date only
22% of promised funding for emergency in Pakistan
has come through, and situation is desperate.
”Privacy’ is a serious health issue for
women, particularly pregnant and lactating. They
are trapped, exposed on roadside, and there are no
“The men can go anywhere,
anytime, but women must wait until night-time,
under cover of dark, and with darkness they are
vulnerable to other abuses. Breastfeeding a baby
must wait until nightfall if there is no
and delivering a baby are further complicated by
cultural issues. Female doctors or health visitors
are in desperately short supply. Local hospitals
are non-functional, treating only emergencies.
Traditional birth attendants have also been
affected by the flood – caring for their own
displaced families. “Babies cannot wait for
funding to be born.
Deliveries are happening in
roadside or waste-covered fields by unskilled
attendants. United Nations estimates that 440
women in eight districts worst affected by floods
in Sindh go into labor every day, 60 of whom may
have potentially life-threatening
pregnancy-related complications. CARE has six
mobile medical teams, each with one male and one
female doctor, treating 230-240 people a day, most
of them women, requesting women doctors.” (PPI)
Neglected flood victims
left to survive on their own
KARACHI: While the
floodwaters that inundated vast swathes of Sindh
are beginning to recede after ravaging the
province for more than a month, conditions remain
extremely dangerous for the people living in the
region. Already threatened by famine and disease,
the plight of the flood-affected is being
exacerbated by the incompetence and neglect of the
federal and provincial governments, says a report
by World Socialist Website.
While the exact figure is
unclear, the number of people killed in the floods
has likely surpassed 500.The death toll had
reached at least 465 by October 4, according to
USAID. Nearly 9 million people have been affected,
with millions of houses destroyed or badly
The report quoted National
Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as saying
that around 30 to 40 people are dying from hunger
and diseases every day. In Sindh’s heavily
affected Badin District, at least eight
flood-affected people died over the weekend,
including two children.
people died at a relief camp in Tando Bago, a
newspaper reported. A three-year-old child died
from gastroenteritis and a seven-year-old girl
drowned. Some 850,000 people are living in
temporary relief camps, but the majority of the
flood-affected are living out in the open.
“Over 85 percent of the
displaced are still without shelter and food and
tens of thousands of others are without clean
potable water,” said reports.
Many have used wooden planks
and plastic sheets to build makeshift shelters as
they wait for proper shelter and desperately
needed relief supplies. About 3 million people are
in need of food assistance and medical care.
Many of the flood-affected
had barely recovered from last year’s floods,
which affected over 20 million people and caused
over $10 billion in damage.
The receding waters have left
stagnant ponds of water, creating breeding grounds
for malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Contaminated water
threatens displaced flood victims with diseases
like cholera and hepatitis. People living in
remote regions where health facilities have been
destroyed or run out of supplies are particularly
The ruined road network has
made it difficult to reach these communities,
which had suffered from inadequately developed and
poorly maintained infrastructure even before the
At least 3 million children
are at risk of malnutrition and disease, according
to Save the Children.
Over 3 million acres of
cropland has been destroyed and one-third of
cattle swept away, threatening the livelihoods of
thousands of farmers. Three quarters of the cotton
crop in Sindh has been destroyed, which will
negatively impact on exports and may force
Pakistan to import cotton to meet the shortfall.
The floods are expected to
increase the inflation rate to 16 percent and
lower overall economic growth. Despite last
year’s devastating floods and early warnings of
heavy rain this year, Pakistani authorities failed
to develop the early warning systems necessary to
evacuate the flood-affected.
The government has ignored
numerous recommendations from international
agencies, failing to invest in flood-resistant
housing and construct barriers to prevent the
spread of floodwaters. Local residents across
Sindh have blamed government incompetence for
breaches in the Left Bank Outfall Drain and other
saline water drains.
Moreover, basic repairs to
the dike network have not been carried out since
last year’s catastrophic floods. Millions of
flood-affected Pakistanis have been left to fend
for themselves, with many relying on support from
relatives and friends for survival.
unpreparedness and pitiful response to the
disaster has infuriated working people across
Sindh and Balochistan.
The PPP-led government
remains indifferent to the plight of the
flood-affected, who are in immediate need of food,
clean water, health care and shelter to avert a
far serious humanitarian crisis. Last week 110,000
of the flood-affected received 20,000 rupees worth
of assistance in the form of an ATM card,
sponsored equally by the Sindh and federal
governments. The use of an ATM card to distribute
assistance where floods have destroyed much of the
infrastructure, however, is simply an attempt to
delay the withdrawal of even this meager sum of
money for as long as possible.
According to former National
Disaster Management Authority Chairman Nadeem
Ahmed, $56.8 million from last summer’s relief
funds remain unutilized, with the government
refusing to release the money for relief efforts.
Aid agencies have cited the mismanagement of funds
by the government after last year’s floods as
one of the reasons for fundraising difficulties.
“Many of the displaced are
still living in precarious conditions, untouched
by aid efforts. In some of the worst-hit districts
in Sindh province, flood victims continue to go
hungry,” according to the UN Refugee Agency.
“With no access to clean drinking water or
sanitation, many families are forced to use
contaminated water sources.” (PPI)
China to send medical team
to Pakistan flood-hit areas
BEIJING: Chinese armed forces
will send 50-member medical team to assist with
humanitarian relief work in flood-hit areas of
Pakistan, China's Defense Ministry Wednesday said
in a statement.
The medical team of Chinese
People's Liberation Army (PLA) is scheduled to set
out on October 20, and work in Pakistan for about
The team will head to most
devastated areas to assist Pakistan's armed forces
by providing medical rescue services for victims
and conducting disease prevention work, it said.
Pakistani officials said
nearly 7.5 million people have been affected by
floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in
southern parts of the country in August-September.
Crops on millions of acres of
land have been washed away.
Chinese government had
previously donated emergency humanitarian aid
worth 30 million yuan (about $4.7million) to
Pakistan government in September. The assistance,
which largely consisted of 7000 tents and a total
of nine aircraft sorties, was delivered in two
In meeting with Pakistan
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar earlier this
month, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian
said Chinese government will also provide $5
million in cash to flood-hit country.
China was one of first
countries to announce and carry out relief aid to
Pakistan after the flooding.
During last year's flooding, which was worst in
Pakistan's history, China provided a total of 120
million yuan worth of humanitarian supplies and
sent Chinese rescue team to provide medical
services to flood victims. PLA also sent emergency
equipment to aid in flood relief work last year. (PPI)
Sindh: flood-stricken areas still hub of problems
Khairpur: Sindh floods have curtailed the mundane
activities in Khairpur. Flood affectees were
marooned on roads after relief camps wrapped up
their operations from the local schools.
Economic activities in various areas also dampened
as roads washed away in floods while affectees are
starving owing to severe food shortage. Floodwaters
are not yet drained out of a lot of areas in Daadu
People of Nara, Faiz Ganj, Nehri including Kot Deji
have started relocating from the low lying areas.
Police line, Police complex and Department of health
are still under water.
Moreover, due to absence of drainage facility ground
routes are still disconnected. Breaches in saline
nullahs of Badin have not been leveled yet.
Experts to discuss post-flood health issues
KARACHI: Pakistan Medical Students' Research
Society (PMSRS) in collaboration with Microbiology
Association of Pakistan is organizing a seminar on
"Post-disastrous impacts on the health of flood
sufferers," on Thursday.
Dr. M Iqbal Afridi, Professor and Head, Department
of Psychiatry, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center,
Sikander K. Sherwani, President, Microbiology
Association of Pakistan and Fayza Khan, Vice
President of Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetics
Society will be the
speakers on the occasion. (APP)
Project to ensure employment for flood-hit
ISLAMABAD: International Labour Organization
and National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) have
launched a project to ensure employment for the
flood-affected communities in Sindh.
The project entitled "Cash for Work" has been
launched from Badin and Mirpurkhas districts.
A senior official at ILO on Wednesday said the
project would generate employment opportunities for
the flood affected people and would help in clearing
the access to villages and healthcare facilities.
It would also ensure clean drinking water supply
to the two worst affected districts.
He said the employment opportunities will be in
line with international labour standards as "no
child labour and no discrimination".
The official said ILO's is providing financial
support and technical guidance to NRSP so that
employment could be offered to revitalize flood-hit
communities of Badin and Mirpurkhas.
He said since 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, ILO has
positively responded to various crises that the
country has encountered and added the ILO has
generated more than 150,000 person day of cash for
work, helped restored 100 kilometers of roads,
trained 18,000 disaster affected people in new
skills, and rehabilitated more than 4000 disaster
affected children from child labour.
He said the ILO has also submitted a proposal in
the United Nations Flash Appeal under Health Cluster
for larger cash for work programme to restore
At the same time, ILO is approaching other donors
to mobilize additional resources to further improve
its response to current floods in Sindh province.
An official of NRSP said that ILO's technical and
financial support will provide direct benefit to the
flood-hit people in Sindh. This employment will help
in draining the standing floodwater, removing mud
and rubble to clear the access pathways to the
healthcare facilities. (APP)
Meeting flood related challenges huge undertaking
: Dr. Firdous
ISLAMABAD: Meeting the daunting challenges posed
by the devastating floods on both socio-economic and human fronts is a huge
undertaking and certainly beyond the capacity of any single nation.
This was stated by Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Federal
Minister for Information and Broadcasting while speaking at a reception which
was attended by a large gathering of Pakistani community members and media
representatives at Mubarik Centre, Sharjah, said a press release here Monday.
The Information Minister said that it was hallmark
of the great nations that they face calamities with courage and fortitude and
Pakistan's history witnessed and people of Pakistan have proved that they are
brave nation and are fully capable to overcome all crises.
The relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of
the rain-hit people are no doubt such challenges, which require a joint
international response since we need far more resources than we currently have.
She called upon all expatriates and international community to come forward to
support the flood relief efforts in Pakistan at this difficult time and
The Minister said that Pakistan faces external and
internal security challenges, and a stable democratically elected government is
necessary to deal with them.
"PPP's reconciliatory policy has allowed it to be
successful despite not having a simple majority in the National Assembly, and
having four different political parties ruling the country's four provinces,"
She praised the role of Pakistan Journalists Forum
and its members in the print and electronic media in the UAE. "Media has to
play a more positive role. Media can be our best marketing tool because the
perception of the world about Pakistan is different from the reality in
Pakistan," she said.
The Federal Minister said that it is the
responsibility of every Pakistani to work for building positive and soft image
and represent Pakistan as a peace loving and tolerant Islamic state. She said
that freedom of the press was essential for strengthening democracy in the
country and the present government has extended unprecedented freedom to the
press which was not given by any other government in the past.
She urged the members of Journalist Forum to come
forward in the efforts of the government in the fight against terrorism and
extremism. She said that Pakistan Journalist Forum should remain above politics
as involvement of journalists in the politics was not in the interest of the
Appreciating the role of the senior journalists of
the forum in building Pakistan's image abroad, she advised them to remain more
focused in protecting country's interest and projecting a positive image of
She said that PTV and Pakistani artistes will hold
stage shows in various cities of the UAE to raise funds for the flood victims
in the Sindh province.
The meeting was also addressed by Pakistan Consul
General, Tariq Iqbal Soomro who highlighted the role of Pakistani journalists
in the UAE and the efforts the consulate has made to facilitate the community
in consular work.
Earlier, while speaking at a Hi-tea party the
Minister urged upon the leading Pakistani businessmen to play their role in
strengthening the economy of the country. She said that the present government
has taken various steps for ensuring smooth and uninterrupted business activity
in the country. (APP)
Speakers for effective food governance mechanisms
ISLAMABAD: The speakers of a conference on Monday
stressed the need of having an effective and responsive food governance
mechanisms to ensure equal access to food and to control high food prices in
Addressing the event, organized to commemorate the
World Food Day, they highlighted food and energy as immediate challenges faced
by the country.
They said that it is time to invest in
agriculture, devising strategy to import food commodities from neighbouring
countries at time of higher food prices and to create strategic food grain
reserves at national as well as at regional level.
This was discussed during a seminar on 'Food
prices: from crises to stability' was jointly organized by Oxfam and
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
Executive Director, SDPI Dr Abid Q. Suleri
recommended to invest more in agriculture sector adding that if it do not
happens there will rise of unplanned urbanization involving urban slums due to
lack of opportunities in rural areas and agriculture.
He urged to enforce effective mechanisms for food
prices control at the local level and to deal with hoarding market practices
due to fluctuating gaps in demand-supply.
He suggested import of food items at least
vegetables from India as trade relations improve due to MFN status.
He also recommended free school lunch system in
the public school which would ensure at least one-time nutrition food in a day
to the children of poor families besides a through assessment of Benazir Income
Support Programme (BISP) to determine the effectiveness of resources invested
in this initiative.
He also recommended skill trainings, micro-finance
and connectivity to local markets for communities in Pakistan.
He also underscored the need of a local government
system to control food prices.
Appreciating the devolution process, he however
lamented that giving ministry of Food and Agriculture under ministry of science
of technology would only improve technological aspects of ministry but not the
food related issues.
He lamented over the shift from an agricultural
economy to services sector economy bypassing industrial economy which requires
highly literate, professionally qualified and skilled labor in contrast to
agriculture and manufacturing sector.
He said that till last year 50 percent population
was spending their 65-75 percent of income on food at the cost other social
expenditures such as shelter and education and health.
He maintained that food deficiency leads to
intra-house food insecurity among lower-middle and lower class families as
priority is given to male breadwinners to keep them physically fit for family
earnings at the cost of women, children and elderly.
He said that food deficiency creates low IQs,
health risks involving outbreaks of diseases, malnourishment as populations
switch towards less-cost food items or reduce portions of food items.
Country Representative, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Kavin D Gallagher talked about
fluctuating food prices in Pakistan and across globe. He identified 2008 global
financial crisis as real factor which increased food prices globally and also
the relationship food prices with growing oil prices.
He said that Pakistan had bumper wheat crop last
year in districts which were not affected buy historic 2010 floods.
The districts which were affected last year, and
this year also have become food insecure, where farmers had become heavily
indebted as they have to borrow to rebuild their houses as well as invest in
agricultural inputs such as seeds and grains and restock their livestock.
Kevin was of the view that food storage is not
only Pakistan's problem but rather it's a global issue.
He said that recurrence of disasters across the
world have heavily dented the food grains reserves resulting in enormous
increase in food prices.
He said that IMF and financial institutions
through structural adjustments, have encouraged countries to move towards food
reserves in private sectors, which further lowered the grain stocks throughout
Kavin highlighted production and access to food,
while talking about food governance in Pakistan. "Pakistan is a very blessed
country that produces enough food and even exports it, but have severe problem
of access to food."
He said some districts are producing excess food
there is serious scarcity of food in some places. So, there is serious need to
work on access to food for people, he added.
He predicted that food prices would remain high in
coming days and there is an immediate need to create decent jobs that would
increase the buying capacity of people to buy food at higher prices.
Talking of devolution of agriculture to provinces,
he said that devolution is good initiative but there must be some mechanisms to
protect Pakistan's interest at international forums, maintain price control in
the country, satisfy food and agricultural needs in the country, maintain
credible statistics and, monitor and control prices. (APP)
Three more couples tied in marriage bond in relief
HYDERABAD: The marriages of two real brothers in
Sabzi Mandi Relief Camp Hyderabad led others to hold marriages in the relief
camp as three more couples were tied in matrimonial bonds the other day at the
at Tando Allahyar camp.
An ISPR spokesman informed here on Monday that
Pakistan Army in collaboration with a social welfare organization Muslim Hands
that arranged the marriage ceremony of these couples where Brigadier
Ghayyasuddin was the chief guest.
The newly married couples also received gifts from
notables of Tando Allahyar, Army and civil officers who also attended the
simple but impressive ceremony.
The activists of various social welfare and NGOs
lauded he efforts of Pakistan Army in rescue and relief work during
unprecedented rainfalls of September last while the newly married couple also
thanked Pakistan Army for providing opportunity of starting new phase of life.
Brigadier Ghayasuddin while speaking on the
occasion congratulated the newly married couples and assured that Pakistan Army
would continue its struggle till rehabilitation of rains and floods victims of
It may be mentioned here that two real brothers of
Jhuddo Town of Mirpurkhas district also entered into new phase of life after
marrying with their cousins at News Sabzi Mandi relief camp three days back.