Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

WHO: Pakistani refugees risk running out of drugs

 Displaced Pakistani men from Buner load their belongings on a truck as they leave a refugee camp in Swabi, northwest Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009....
 A displaced girl sits next to her tent in a refugee camp in Swabi, northwest Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009. A humanitarian crisis remains, with mor...

Pakistan

Displaced Pakistani men from Buner load their belongings on a truck as they leave a refugee camp in Swabi, northwest Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009....

Pakistan

A displaced girl sits next to her tent in a refugee camp in Swabi, northwest Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009. A humanitarian crisis remains, with mor...

Refugee camps in Pakistan risk running out of essential medical supplies within "two to three weeks" if donors don't deliver more funds soon, the World Health Organization's top crisis official warned Tuesday.
Shortages of medicine and other supplies heighten the risk that epidemics of cholera, malaria and other infectious diseases could threaten people who fled the army's ongoing assault against Taliban militants.
About 2 million civilians have been uprooted from their homes in the Swat Valley and surrounding districts since the government launched its offensive in April.
Cash-strapped Islamabad is heavily dependent on Western donors to provide for the refugees. The U.N. has appealed to the international community for some $530 million to address the problem _ $37 million of which is earmarked for basic health needs.
But Eric Laroche, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general for humanitarian crises, said the international community was failing to deliver the needed funds. So far, money delivered and pledges from donor nations covered only 27 percent of the $37 million, he said.
That shortfall presents a challenge in meeting the refugees' basic health needs, particularly if more funds do not arrive soon.
"Within two to three weeks we won't have any more essential drugs to be treating the people in the camps," Laroche said. "It is not normal, and I don't even find it acceptable."
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have found shelter in refugee camps south of the war zone, while the majority of them have moved in with relatives or strangers.
Laroche, who visited a camp sheltering 31,000 people on Monday, said the conditions were generally "not bad" but warned that the coming rainy season _ which usually runs from July through late August _ raises the threat of an outbreak of infectious diseases.
He noted that "many of the camps are located in areas that are likely to be flooded," and that an intense rainy season would likely bring "diseases such as acute diarrhea that is going to create a lot of malnutrition, cholera, malaria _ so we need to be prepared for that."
He said that in some instances "there are 50 people living in one room, men sleeping outside, so all the conditions for an epidemic are gathered here."
Another problem is the lack of female doctors and nurses to treat women refugees, the vast majority of whom are conservative Pashtuns.
"That is really a problem because as you know with Pashtuns you ... need to be gender sensitive, and Pashtun women will not be treated by men and there we have a major problem," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-10 07:49 GMT+08:00