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Water-borne diseases major killer as 52 die

world Updated: Aug 22, 2010 19:45 IST

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Water-borne diseases are turning out to be a major killer in flood-hit Pakistan, with at least 52 persons infected with gastroenteritis, cholera and other ailments dying over the past few days in Balochistan province.

The people rendered homeless by the unprecedented floods have been living in dangerous conditions, with no access to clean drinking water and threat of diseases looming large.

Officials said 52 persons have died in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan districts in the last few days.

The major cause of deaths of such patients was stated to be unavailability of timely medical treatment and necessary medicines at the camps and hospitals, the official APP news agency reported.

About 10 flood victims have died of gastroenteritis in Dera Murad Jamali, 6 in Gandakha and Bhag, while over 35 have been bitten by snakes over the last three days, officials said.

Amidst the tragedy, two provincial ministers have said that relief had not reached the people of the province.

Minister for Works and Communication Mir Sadique Umrani has accused international donors and NGOs of ignoring Balochistan, and said a large number of flood survivors of the province were not receiving any relief assistance from them.

Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxation Mir Ameen Umrani also said that no relief was provided to a large number of flood-stricken people who had taken refuge in various areas of Naseerabad division, particularly Tehsil Tambo.

In a statement, he said that hundreds of thousands of flood victims were forced to live under the open sky in extremely hot weather and a large number of them had suffered from gastroenteritis and other waterborne diseases.

He added that still many of flood victims were deprived of food, drinking water, medicines and tents.

According to a report compiled by Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), raging floods wreaked havoc in 12 districts of Balochistan, displacing 1.1 million people including 40,000 of Sindh.

It said 40 persons were killed, 98 suffered injuries and 50 went missing.

The report maintained that floods washed away 2,584 villages and 75,261 houses in Balochistan.

Director General PDMA Hasan Baloch said floodwaters were still standing in many districts including Naseerabad, Jaffarabad, Kachhi Bolan and Jhal Magsi.

Floods have also washed away crops standing on millions of acres of land and thousands of cattle were killed in Balochistan.

According to another report by Works and Communication Department, floods have destroyed 338.08 kilometers of roads and hundreds of bridges in various districts of Balochistan, causing a loss of Rs 542.985 million to the province.