Connect with us

Pakistan

Malaria and diseases spreading fast in flood-hit Pakistan

Published

on

  • Malaria spreading fast in flood-ridden regions.
  • One-fourth of screened patients malaria positive.
  • Officials appeal for more malaria medicines.

KARACHI: The death toll from malaria and other diseases tearing through Pakistan’s flood-ravaged regions reached 324, authorities said on Wednesday, and actress Angelina Jolie said she feared many people she had met during visits to flood-hit areas this week would “not make it” if more aid did not arrive.

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods were living in the open. Stagnant floodwaters, spread over hundreds of kilometres, may take two to six months to recede. Already they have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever.

Hollywood actress and humanitarian Jolie visited people displaced by the floods with the international aid organisation IRC in an effort to raise awareness. She saw some of the worst affected areas in southern Sindh province.

“I’ve seen those lives who were saved,” she said but added that without sufficient aid, others “won’t be here in the next few weeks, they won’t make it.” Her comments, made when visiting the country’s flood response centre, were carried on video footage shared by the country’s military on Wednesday.

Authorities and aid workers have said more immediate help is needed for displaced families exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards, such as snake and dog bites.

Despite the efforts of the government and local and foreign relief organisations, many people are in dire need of food, shelter, medical assistance and medicines.

With Pakistan’s already weak health system and lack of support, displaced families have complained of being forced to drink and cook with unsafe water.

“We know it can sicken us, but what to do, we have to drink it to stay alive,” flood victim Ghulam Rasool told local Geo News TV as he stood near where his home was washed away in southern Pakistan.

A historic and intense monsoon dumped about three times as much rain as Pakistan’s three-decade average. Combined with glacial melt, this caused unprecedented flooding.

The deluge, which scientists say was exacerbated by climate change, has affected nearly 33 million people in the South Asian nation of 220 million. It has swept away homes, crops, bridges, roads and livestock in damages estimated at $30 billion.

“I’ve never seen anything like this … I’m overwhelmed,” said Jolie, who has made several trips to Pakistan including after deadly floods in the country’s south in 2010.

“The aid is slow to arrive,” said Dr Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ country director for Pakistan, after visiting several submerged regions.

“We need to work in a coordinated manner to respond to their immediate needs,” she said in a statement late on Monday, prioritising clean drinking water. Health and nutrition stand out as the most important needs of the displaced population, she said.

Pakistan’s finance ministry said it had approved 10 billion rupees ($42 million) for the disaster management agency to use for procuring flood relief supplies and other logistics.

France plans to host an international conference this year on the climate-resilient reconstruction of Pakistan’s flood-affected areas. 

The announcement came after Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, said a statement issued by the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fast spread

The Sindh provincial government said makeshift health facilities and mobile camps in flooded areas had treated more than 78,000 patients in the last 24 hours, and more than 2 million since July 1. Six of them died, it said.

It confirmed 665 new malaria cases among internally displaced families over the same period, with another 9,201 suspected cases. It said a quarter of the more than 19,000 patients screened in the last 24 hours across the province were positive, a total of 4,876.

United Nations Pakistan said malaria, typhoid and diarrhoea cases were spreading quickly, adding 44,000 cases of malaria were reported this week in the southern province.

Director General Health Services for southwestern Balochistan province, Noor Ahmed Qazi, said malaria was spreading quickly in regions around stagnant waters.

“We’re receiving malaria patients in large numbers on a daily basis in medical camps and hospitals,” he told Reuters, adding: “We need more medicines and test kits in flood-hit areas.”

Deaths from disease are not counted among the 1,569 people who were killed in flash floods, including 555 children and 320 women, the country’s disaster management agency said on Wednesday.

Latest News

government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

Published

on

By

On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

Published

on

By

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

Published

on

By

With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

Continue Reading

Trending