Current floods and Public Health and Food Security Risks
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reports that the floods are the worst ever in Pakistan affecting more than 33 million people: 1,481 lives were lost, 12,748 people were injured, 633, 000 people are in temporary shelters and 6.5 million others in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Regarding public health the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that disease surveillance indicates tens of thousands of cases, including people affected by diarrhea, malaria, acute respiratory infections (ARI), skin and eye infections, typhoid, and others. The reports show that the floods worsen the risk of the already ongoing outbreak, including acute watery diarrhea, typhoid, measles, leishmaniasis, HIV, and polio. At the same time, the destruction of health facilities, roads, bridges, and crops has put flood-affected people, including pregnant mothers and children, at risk of accessibility to health services and food availability. Due to these floods, the disrupted water supply and sewage systems have increased the risk of access to clean water, sanitation, and proper sewage management. Furthermore, the stagnant water in the flood-affected regions nourishes the mosquitos in the aftermath of the flood in the long term and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes resulting in diseases like dengue.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the current floods in Pakistan have affected 4.4 million acres of crop area, and 872,000 livestock have been lost. This total wipe out of agricultural assets in large tracts of the country will lead to to food scarcity and hunger for millions. Pakistan needs to achieve SDGs by 2030, but SDG 02 (Zero Hunger) is becoming an alarming point due to the current flooding situation.
International organizations recommend strategies to respond to floods, public health crises, and food insecurity. International Flood Initiative (IFI) guiding principles emphasize empowered participation, inter-disciplinarity, and inter-sectorality among government, international organizations, NGOs, private and other stakeholders to support effectiveness and successful flood management. The initiative also suggests strategic activities, including research, information networking, education, and training, empowering communities, and providing technical assistance.
As a leading knowledge based development organization, Hashoo Foundation’s experience and expertise since 1988 in the priority themes of health and nutrition places it in the lead of implementing innovative strategies. Our expertise contributes to meaningful development impact resulting from designing and managing large-scale projects in health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, hygiene, and food systems. Along with our programmatic expertise, we have both internal technical resources in health and nutrition and our network of an external resources that we readily draw upon. Hashoo Foundation brings insights from its multi-sectoral and multi-tiered program implementation. Most importantly, we have been internationally awarded for our unique strength in providing relevant policy input that connects Pakistan’s grass root reality to national policy implementation for meeting the desired development milestones.