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Pakistan deploys more doctors to fight diseases after floods

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has deployed thousands of additional doctors and paramedics to the country’s worst flood-hit province to contain the spread of diseases that have killed more than 300 among flood victims, officials said Friday.

Some of the doctors who refused to work in Sindh province have been sacked by the government, according to the provincial health department. The floods have killed 724 people, including 311 children and 133 women in the province since July.

The monsoon rains and floods, which many experts say are caused by climate change, affected 33 million people, caused at least 1,596 deaths and damaged 2 million homes across Pakistan.

Around half a million flood survivors are homeless and living in tents and makeshift structures.

In the past two months, Pakistan has sent nearly 10,000 additional doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to treat survivors at health centers and medical camps across Sindh province.

Some 18,000 doctors and almost 38,000 paramedics are treating survivors in the province, according to data from the health department.

The floods have damaged more than 1,000 health centers in Sindh, forcing survivors to travel to other areas to seek medical help.

Waterborne and other illnesses in the past two months have killed 334 flood victims.

The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to raise the alarm of a “second disaster,” with doctors on the ground racing to combat outbreaks.

Some flooding in Pakistan has receded, but many districts in Sindh are still submerged, and displaced people living in tents and makeshift camps face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue fever and malaria, which are on the rise in recent years. relief camps.

The devastation has prompted the United Nations to consider sending more money than it committed during its $160 million flash appeal to support Pakistan’s flood response.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is in New York, will speak at the UN General Assembly on Friday to seek more help from the international community.

On Wednesday, Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, said: “The humanitarian situation remains dire in Pakistan’s flood-affected areas, with widespread damage to physical infrastructure and ongoing damage to people and livestock.

Outbreaks of diarrhoea, typhoid and malaria are increasing rapidly, he said, as millions of people sleep in temporary shelters or in the open near stagnant water.

Last week, more than 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the worst affected area of ​​Sindh.

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