A massive flood on Monday caused by monsoon rains has killed an estimated 1,500 people in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has launched a rescue campaign to save the 15,000 families in the region in need of emergency aid. As the relief efforts ramp up, officials fear that up to 100,000 people have already been hit by cholera and gastroenteritis in the affected Swat Valley.
Having returned recently from the New Orleans APIC show and with friends supporting the re-building effort, Hurricane Katrina is still fresh in memory. To compare the scale of these two disasters, Katrina similarly resulted in about 1,400 deaths in 2005. Even considering criticism of federal response, the triage and infection control effort was relatively fast. Within 5 days, nearly 5,000 people were triaged in New Orleans. Only 5 people died due to E. coli in the drinking water. Among evacuees, targeted surveillance identified 1,169 of the 6,500 in Houston’s Reliant Park medical clinic who reported acute gastroenteritis symptoms. Rehydration, isolation, and distribution of hand sanitizers controlled the outbreak. It continued for a week, but no deaths were reported due to gastroenteritis at Reliant Park.
Please consider giving to charitable organizations addressing the health needs of Pakistani flood victims. Let’s keep this from becoming an even worse disaster than it already is.
Officials fear disease outbreak in flood-hit Pakistan
Jaroka Tele-healthcare blog is following relief efforts on the ground