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Flooding In Pakistan Claims More Lives Amid Growing Threat Of Waterborne Illness

Women carry belongings salvaged from their flooded home after monsoon rains in Pakistan's Sindh Province.
Women carry belongings salvaged from their flooded home after monsoon rains in Pakistan's Sindh Province.

Flooding in Pakistan has killed 17 more people in the past two days, officials said on September 21 as the United Nations Children’s Fund renewed its appeal for $39 million to help the most vulnerable flood victims.

Unprecedented monsoon rains and flooding have caused at least 1,576 deaths across Pakistan, including more than 550 children since mid-June, UNICEF said in a statement.

About half of the deaths occurred in Sindh Province, where many areas remain submerged, raising fears of the spread of waterborne diseases.

“Without a significant surge in support, we fear many more children will lose their lives," UNICEF said.

Many roads and bridges in Sindh Province have been washed away or are badly damaged, and thousands of families have no food, safe water, or medicines, the agency said.

UNICEF said only a third of its $39 million appeal has been met so far.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif met with world leaders on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 21 and urged philanthropists to donate baby food for children affected by the floods.

“God will reward you for this noble work," he said.

The UN also expressed its concern over illness among survivors. It said more than 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in Sindh Province this past week. Skin and eye infections, typhoid, and dengue fever have also been reported.

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open, and the stagnant floodwaters have led to the spread of the diseases.

The UN said the situation may get out of control if the necessary aid does not arrive soon.

About three times as much rain fell in Pakistan during the monsoon season as the three-decade average. The rain combined with glacial melt to cause the flooding, which scientists say was exacerbated by climate change.

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

The announcement came after Sharif and French President Emmanuel Macron had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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