Pakistan

How has flood impacted women and children?

As a direct consequence of the floods, more than a thousand people have lost their lives, and major damage has been caused to homes, roads, schools, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure forms, resulting in a humanitarian disaster.

In the wake of disasters like these, it is known that women and children face the biggest challenges, including access to humanitarian relief. The office of reproductive health at the United Nations estimates that around 650,000 pregnant women live in Pakistan, which was ravaged by flooding. Of those pregnant women, up to 73,000 anticipate giving birth within the next month. The local community faces several issues, the most significant of which are a lack of proper sanitation and hygiene, an unsafe environment for women, and inadequate medical treatment for children. There have been issues with protection, particularly for women, who have reported being harassed by police. These incidents were reported when they attempted to access humanitarian supplies. As a direct result of this, the situation is becoming worse. And the situation continues to deteriorate daily.

Over three hundred people are currently camping out in a high school in Qamber, about an hour and a half’s drive from K.N. Shah, on a patch of ground that stinks: surviving livestock are tethered right next to where a family sleeps in the open, and children are forced to play in the same areas where they relieve themselves. The topography of Sindh and Baluchistan, which has been destroyed by water, has stagnant pools of water that are teaming with flies and mosquitoes, producing an atmosphere that is hazardous to human health. At a distance of around one hundred kilometers, in a section of the sub-district of K.N. Shah that has been severely damaged, children can be seen splashing around in the water and having a good time, completely unaware of the many risks that are there in the water.

The people assert that the proliferation of waterborne diseases has increased the frequency of snake bites. The lack of access to education is a major concern; however, it is highly unlikely that local students will be able to return to school because almost every flood-affected region is being used as a camp for flood refugees. This makes it impossible for local students to return to school.

The school year should now get underway since the summer break has ended; nevertheless, the municipal governments are at a crossroads over whether or not they should remove refugees from the region to safeguard the education of their inhabitants.

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