Health of millions at risk from Pakistan floods

PHOTO GALLERY: AUGUST 2010

Pakistan's flood crisis has affected over 15 million people, with at least six million needing life-saving humanitarian assistance, including health care. Access to health care, including routine services, is difficult as monsoonal rains and raging flood waters have damaged or destroyed more than 200 hospitals and clinics.

WHO is coordinating the international health response. Medicines for close to two million people have already been delivered and thousands of people have been treated for water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, skin infections, acute respiratory illnesses and malaria. Vaccination campaigns have begun in some flood-affected areas. Health services must continue for mothers to deliver babies, for cancer patients to receive treatment and for people with mental and psychosocial health concerns to receive support. Dozens of mobile clinics have been sent to treat survivors. New hubs to deliver health care in the worst-affected areas are being established.

This photo gallery shows the impact of the floods, health problems resulting from it and some of the medical response.

All images may be downloaded and used, provided credit is given to WHO and photographers as mentioned with individual photos.

Flood-ravaged area in Pakistan
WHO/Syed Haider

A man wades through a flood-ravaged area in Pakistan.


The damaged Nowshera District Headquarters hospital.
WHO/Syed Haider

This hospital in Nowshera district and more than 200 others have been damaged and destroyed during the floods, greatly reducing the healthcare available for survivors.


Man walks through flood disaster scene.
WHO/Syed Haider

A man walks through flood disaster scene. People's skin is constantly exposed to unsafe water, unhygienic conditions and sharp debris, making skin diseases one of the leading reasons for medical consultations for flood survivors.


Women wait in the rain at a roadside camp.
WHO/Syed Haider

Women wait in the rain at a roadside camp. Poor living conditions, exposure to the cold and lack of access to appropriate hygiene measures are among key factors resulting in thousands of people suffering from acute respiratory infections.


Boys search for clean drinking water.
WHO/Syed Haider

Boys search for clean drinking water. Children are among those facing the highest risk of health threats, particularly communicable diseases.


Girl suffering from acute water diarrhoea in Punjab.
WHO/Syed Haider

A girl suffers from acute water diarrhoea in Punjab. Diarrhoeal diseases are of particular concern for people affected by the floods due to limited access to safe drinking water and disrupted sanitation systems.


WHO staff take water sample in Mardan.
WHO/Syed Haider

WHO staff take water sample in Mardan. WHO Pakistan staff are responding to the health crisis, even though many of them also lost homes and property in the floods. WHO-supported disease surveillance work has been a vital tool in keeping track of health threats.


Medicine loading from the WHO warehouse in Islamabad.
WHO/Syed Haider

Men load medicine from a WHO warehouse in Islamabad. WHO has delivered medicines and other supplies to treat about two million people. But more is still needed.


Man receives treatment in Buner district.
WHO/Syed Haider

A mobile medical team treats a man in Buner district. These teams are run by local and international organizations, delivering health care services in flood-affected parts of Pakistan.


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