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Pakistan floods: Protest breaks out against administration after 6-year-old dies of starvation
Islamabad: Around 200 flood-affected families protested in Sukkur city of Sindh province after a six-year-old girl reportedly died of starvation and illness at a makeshift shelter near a filling station on the National Highway in the Patni area on Friday.
According to the Dawn, Protestors said that the girl died as the Rohri mukhtiarkar officials failed to "provide them food and other relief goods in time". They said that they had been waiting for official aid since they had reached Sukkur from Jacobabad district after the torrential destroyed everything they had.
"The officials came only to collect data but neither of them sent any relief items such as food, tents, mosquito nets and other necessary goods so that we could feed our starving children and protect their families against diseases," the protestors said.
The protestors also told that no medical team had visited them to check on their children and women, who were suffering from various diseases after the rains.
"When our children started starving, we went to the mukhtiarkar's office in Rohri for aid but we received neither food nor tents. In the meanwhile, my six-year-old daughter Razia died of starvation and disease," said the girl's father Khalid Khoso.
When the news about the girl's death spread, local people and former members of Khoso Ittihad Farman Khoso helped the family in the burial and provided ration bags to all the rain-stricken families, said the protesters.
Talking to media persons, Farman Khoso appealed to the district administration to take care of the helpless rain-hit families and provide them food immediately so that no more children died from starvation, Dawn reported.
Locals said that the Sukkur bench of the Sindh High Court had directed officials of the administration to accommodate the rain-hit people in camps and provide them relief items.
The death of the child was gross negligence on the officials' part and their indifference to the court directives for the protection of rain-hit people, they said.
Record monsoon and heavy floods in Pakistan have given rise to hunger and various illnesses which have affected 33 million people and the experts believe that the situation would aggravate in the coming days as the flood affectees are forced to live under the sky depriving the required resources.
According to the Secretary general of Pakistan Medical Association-Karachi, Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, one of the major challenges currently being faced in the disaster areas is lack of shelter.
"People living under the open sky are forced to drink contaminated water. They are getting a little bit of food either from non-profit organisations or some kind-hearted landlords." This has increased the risk of disease outbreaks. Several diseases including skin infections have been reported in the country.
According to the latest July-September health department data, skin ailments and diarrhoeal diseases are rampant in flood-affected areas. A total of 149,551 people have been reported with diarrheal diseases while 142,739 people reported skin infections.
The official statistics recorded 132,485 cases of acute respiratory disease, 49,420 cases of suspected malaria, 101 cases of snakebite and 550 cases of a dog bite. There were 185,274 cases of other illnesses.
According to officials, over 15,000 cases of skin infection cases, around 14,000 cases of diarrhoeal diseases and more than 13,000 cases of acute respiratory illnesses are being reported daily at government-run medical camps.
In the wake of severe floods, the initially estimated losses have accumulated in the range of USD 18 billion, Pakistan's agriculture sector faces the worst blow as the agriculture growth might remain zero or slide into negative against the envisaged target of 3.9 per cent for the current financial year 2022-23.
The catastrophic floods displaced more than 33 million people and are estimated to have caused USD 30 billion of damage.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned about the worsening crisis in the country ravaged by the record rains.
"We are following closely and with deep concern the humanitarian crisis currently facing the people of Pakistan as a result of devastating monsoon floods," said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, on the floods in Pakistan.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Pakistan is facing one of the worst flooding events in its history.
The government estimates that millions across the country are affected by the rains, floods and impacts such as landslides, destroying infrastructure, homes, agricultural land and livestock.
The calamitous floods have so far claimed at least 1,325 people in Pakistan.
The human and socio-economic toll is expected to increase as flood levels continue to rise, with immense pressure on the country's dams.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said that it was the wettest August since records began in 1961. National rainfall was 243 per cent above average. In the province of Balochistan, it was +590 per cent and in Sindh +726 per cent, according to the monthly report. (ANI)