Fear of babies born in Pakistan’s devastating floods

A family of eight built a shelter out of furniture and cloth sheets. Southwest Sindh.

Holding her 24-day-old baby Shumaira, Solangi said she was worried about the newborn she brought from the hospital when it rained because she couldn’t pay for her medicine. Now she and her five other children are hungry, sick and wary of snakes looking for food and high ground. A day laborer husband cannot work.

“Everyone who could afford it has left this village, but we are still here because we can’t afford to go anywhere. It’s all about money,” she said. “We are helpless people. I am sick too, it’s her third month with a fever and a throat infection. I can’t even afford medicine.”

About 10 percent of the country’s health facilities have been damaged by the floods, WHO representative in Pakistan Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala said on Monday. He said he was particularly concerned about the 1.2 million pregnant women among the hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

Solangi may have survived the birth of her baby, but she knows the strip of land between the floods is no place for her. She said she feels it’s safer than the nearby relief camp, which is only accessible by boat.

“There is nothing in the relief camp,” she said. “people are helplessThey don’t give people anything. “I’d rather live here,” she said.

‘Malaria epidemic’

Across Pakistan, people like Solangi survive on rations dropped by aid workers while they wait for the waters to recede. About 10 families gather with Sorangi on a plot of land that is less than 15 feet (5 meters) wide.

When children are asleep, flies swarm around their faces, making it difficult to avoid the mosquitoes that carry the malaria threat.

Access to food and clean water is difficult in Kayapul Nathan Shah, Sindh.

“A woman came here and promised to provide mosquito nets, but she never came back,” Sorangi said. “I’m still waiting for it. They registered my name too, but she never came back.”

Mahipala said the WHO is seeing an “epidemic of malaria,” with cases of typhoid fever and skin, eye and respiratory tract infections becoming more common.

“We fear that the situation will worsen with greater humanitarian and public health impacts, especially in Sindh province, as water moves towards the south of the country,” he said.

WHO estimates that about 634,000 people live in displaced persons camps, but that number could be higher because some areas are too difficult to access.

The water level is so high that residents use boats to move around the village in search of food and other supplies.

“We are poor and cannot leave the area.”

On the dirt strip, children interact with families of livestock rescued from the floods and have fun splashing in the water that blankets the small villages.

Mai Halima, 70, watches over them, especially when they sleep. She worries that younger children will forget where they are and accidentally fall into the water just a few feet from her bed.

September 5, 2022, Mai Harima watches over a sleeping boy.

“We keep an eye on our children even after sunset. Halima said.

Haleem told CNN it was one of the worst monsoon seasons he has witnessed in his life in Pakistan.

“This area has been flooded four times in my life, and I can remember three of them. But this time the heavy rains made things worse. Halima said.

She worries about the future, but doesn’t think much about the broken house.”It’s no use crying now.”

Houses in Mai Halima's village were flooded.

She and Sorangi are more concerned about how their children will survive this ordeal.

“We have to ensure food for our children,” Halima said. “May God help us.”

Sorangi also wishes for divine intervention to save them from a disaster no one has ever seen.

“God is our Savior. I’m not feeling well,” she said. “My children are sick too. I have to fetch water.”

Hira Humayun of CNN in Atlanta contributed to the report.

Source: www.cnn.com

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