Risk of epidemic is high in Pakistan: Canadian Red Cross

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is ramping up its relief operations in response to flooding in Pakistan. Over three million people have been affected as the worst flooding in 80 years wreaks havoc across 70 per cent of the country. Despite a rapid humanitarian response Red Cross officials warn that the worst may be yet to come.

"Every effort is being taken to prevent water-borne disease, but with such a large-scale disaster the risk of an epidemic is high," says Hossam Elsharkawi, director of emergency and recovery operations with the Canadian Red Cross. "Diarrhea and Cholera pose significant risks to already vulnerable communities and every effort must be taken to ensure clean water and proper sanitation remains a priority."

In addition to distributions of food and shelter materials, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is working to reduce the public health risks posed by the flooding. The Red Cross is currently expanding preventive health measures and contingences for flood-affected areas, and plans for repairing critical water infrastructure and restoring it to working order.

In addition to these efforts, the Canadian Red Cross has already deployed four mobile clinics and a seven-person paramedic team to affected communities in support of on-going Red Crescent efforts.

"Our teams in Pakistan are doing everything they can to mitigate the health risks posed by the flooding," adds Elsharkawi. "But with the widespread flooding and continuous rains, it is a race against time for aid organizations."




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