Three die at Pakistan flood relief camps as disease spreads

By Nadeem Sarwar

Islamabad (dpa) – Three people have died at relief camps for

 Pakistan’s flood victims as diseases started to spread, media and

 health officials said on Tuesday.

    Relief workers are scrambling to get aid to some 20 million people

 affected by the worst floods the country has ever faced, but the

 process has been hampered by the large numbers of victims.

    A 4-year-old boy died of the water-borne disease gastroenteritis

 at a relief camp in the southern port city of Karachi, health

 officials were quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper. Another

 6-day-old baby died of tetanus.

    Medical officer Khalid Ansari told the newspaper that the medical

 team had diagnosed 400 people in the camp with high fever and

 gastroenteritis – most of them women, children and elderly people.

 Skin diseases were also very common, he added.

    Officials said a 17-year-old girl died of gastroenteritis at the

 district hospital in Rajanpur, a city in the central province of

 Punjab, which has been hard-hit by the floods.

    The UN said on Monday that 3.5 million children were at risk from

 water-borne diseases in Pakistan and urged the world community to

 urgently provide 460 million dollars required for emergency


    Hundreds of thousands of people have been in the open for more

 than 10 days, as government-established relief camps have become


    Even inside the camps the situation is deteriorating with people

 complaining of food shortages. Flood victims held protests in two

 cities in Punjab and Sindh province. Three people were injured when

 the police charged with batons to disperse demonstrators who had

 blocked a main highway.