Pakistan emergency: the Order of Malta’s relief efforts
Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s International Relief Service, is continuing its assistance to Pakistan’s flood victims. The mountain districts of Swat and Kohistan are often difficult to reach as roads and bridges have been destroyed and relief teams are forced to abandon their vehicles and proceed on foot. The Order of Malta’s medical teams are working with five Pakistani health units. Moreover, two mobile clinics offer daily services to the inhabitants of villages and towns where access to health facilities cannot be assured. Skin diseases, diarrhoea, pneumonia, dehydration and anaemia continue to be widespread. Medical treatment is accompanied by hygiene awareness sessions and the distribution of water purification tablets.
The latest figures given by the Pakistani government report over 17 million victims of the severe floods, covering a vast area stretching from the Chinese border to the mouth of the Indus River. A total of 1.2 million houses have either been damaged or destroyed.
Despite the efforts to step up aid in the most affected regions (Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan), the risk of water-borne diseases and epidemics continues to grow. The most urgent medical needs are those of ensuring access to health services, sustaining supplies of medicines and vaccinations against various forms of diseases and epidemics, and the restoration of public health facilities (some 400 have been damaged or destroyed).
After having pinpointed some serious cases of acute diarrhoea linked to the polluted water in Swat district, Malteser International is preparing for a possible epidemic by procuring diarrhoea treatment kits and opening treatment centres. Again in the Swat and Kohistan region, Malteser International has started to distribute food and non-food relief items to 2800 families which should be sufficient to cover their needs for another three months.
Last weekend, Malteser International organized an assessment in the Punjab. The idea was to provide medical assistance for at least three months with three additional teams carrying out similar tasks to those in northern Pakistan. Unlike Swat and Kohistan, Punjab is in a lowland area and the waters tend to recede more slowly than in the mountainous regions. In the long term, Malteser International will be involved with disaster risk reduction. In Swat, several health units will be rebuilt and re-equipped and, together with existing centres, prepared to resist any future disasters.
“Medical supplies and equipment are absolutely insufficient so far,” reports Roland Hansen, head of the Asia Department at Malteser International”. To date, Malteser International’s operations in Pakistan are estimated to have cost over three million Euro. “But,” Hansen concludes, “even the most elementary needs are still far from being met”.
You can donate to the Order of Malta’s relief efforts in Pakistan online:
Donation Account: 2020122 Pax-Bank Köln, von-Werth-Str. 25-27, D-50670 Köln, Germany
Sort Code 370 60 193
IBAN DE93 3706 0193 0002 0201 22
Reference: “Pakistan Floods”