Pakistan saw a record number of floods this summer after heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers flooded a third of the country.

Islamabad, Pakistan – A United Nations report on The devastating floods in Pakistan says more than 240,000 people in the southern province of Sindh remain displaced, while satellite images indicate that about eight million people “may still be exposed to floodwaters or live near flooded areas”.

According to the situation report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), released on Tuesday, at least 12 districts continue to report standing water, including 10 in Sindh and two in Balochistan.

Pakistan witnessed catastrophic flooding this summer after heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers inundated a third of the country, killing more than 1,700 and affecting a total of 33 million people.

Homes, roads, bridges and railroads were washed away, with the government estimated total damage at more than $30 billion.

The UN report says that while receding waters have allowed millions of people to return home, they still face an acute shortage of essential items such as food and medicine. It adds that flood-affected regions are now tackling health-related challenges, although the numbers show a declining trend.

Citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN report said malaria cases have fallen by 25 percent in Balochistan, 58 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 67 percent in Sindh since early September.

The report added that high numbers of malaria and cholera cases continue to be reported from Sindh and Balochistan provinces, highlighting the “underlying vulnerabilities” in those regions.

The UN report went on to say that more than 600,000 children in Pakistan have not received any polio vaccine due to lack of access to areas devastated by the floods. Pakistan remains one of only two countries in the world, along with Afghanistan not yet announced polio free.

The report also highlighted the food security situation in Pakistan. Citing figures from the World Food Program (WFP), another UN body, it said the highest food-insecure populations were recorded in Sindh (3.9 million) and Balochistan (1.6 million).

“Evidence from available data indicates that emergency response has so far fallen far short of need, with more than 5.1 million people now experiencing IPC 4 conditions in flood-affected areas,” it said, adding that there are 1.1 million could fall in the same country. category by early 2023.

The IPC acute food insecurity classification distinguishes between different levels of food insecurity, with stage four indicating an emergency and five a catastrophe or famine.

Farida Shaheed, former special rapporteur for OCHA and an expert on rights-based development, told Al Jazeera that the government’s emergency response to this year’s floods is not a long-term approach.

“The magnitude of the devastation is enormous. It’s not something that can be solved in months or a year. People have lost their homes, their crops, their livestock, their livelihoods. I have not seen anything from the government being done with a long term approach,” she said.

“Many years of problems piled up and now they are all here. Flood devastation is far out of reach, but it’s all been a long time coming. Our development policy was not effective and we can now see the results of that.”



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