SUKKUR — In the ad-hoc child malnutrition facility at the Railway Hospital in Sukkur, mothers cradle and nurse their toddlers, all emaciated and weakened. A row of beds runs either side of the ward in the brown and gray-painted Raj-era hospital, upon one of which sits three year-old Zamina. She was malnourished before the floods hit, but the flight from the family farm in Thulla to this heaving city in northern Sindh worsened the tiny girl’s condition considerably, says Dr Sakina Jafri, pausing to speak as she moved from bed to bed. “With the threat of disease all around, young children are most prone,” she said. “And when they are so young and are malnourished, it only adds to that level of vulnerability.”
Garhi Khuda Baksh, Sindh Province, Pakistan – As the floodwaters slowly recede and the Indus River empties into the Arabian Sea, the full impact of what Pakistan’s Foreign Minister on Wednesday described as the worst disaster in the country’s history is becoming clearer. A death toll of just over 1600 is set to rise, with the sad likelihood is that more dead bodies will be found as the waters drain. Rotting carcasses of hundreds of thousands of drowned livestock will add to the threat of disease, as the river drains into the sea and the dead animals are exposed to the blistering 40 degree heat. Over 3.5 million are thought to be homeless in Sindh, with six million displaced nationwide. The threat of epidemic is real, with people on the move in blistering heat amid vast, often stagnant, floodwaters. Aidworkers have reacted with alarm to reports of cholera in northern Sindh province. “If there is just one case of cholera, then that can lead to hundreds, if not thousands, given that this is an airborne disease and spreads quickly”, said Dr Wasi Aslam, based at the Railway Hospital in Sukkur.