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Pakistan Floods Damage Nearly 900 Health Facilities, Hampering Response To Health Crises, WHO Says

Men watch floodwaters tear through the bazaar in Bahrain, Pakistan, on August 29.
Men watch floodwaters tear through the bazaar in Bahrain, Pakistan, on August 29.

Deadly floods in Pakistan have damaged at least 888 medical facilities, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, expressing concern that the damage will hamper the country's response to health crises in the aftermath of the disaster.

"The current flood situation will highly likely increase the spread of disease, especially if and when response capacities are hindered," the UN agency said on September 1.

Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan's northern mountains have triggered floods that have killed at least 1,191 people, including 399 children, in recent weeks, according to the government figures.

Health experts in Pakistan have warned about possible outbreaks of infectious diseases and other illnesses in flood-affected areas.

They estimate around 5 million people might fall sick in the next few weeks with diarrhea, cholera, gastroenteritis, and typhoid. The experts also predict possible outbreaks of dengue and malaria that are transmitted through mosquitos.

The government says more than 33 million people -- 15 percent of the 220 million population -- have been affected by the floods that swept away homes, businesses, infrastructure, and roads, and destroyed crops. Some estimates say one-third of the country is currently underwater.

The United Nations has appealed for $160 million to help with what it has called an "unprecedented climate catastrophe." The WHO said more than 6.4 million people were in dire need of humanitarian aid.

With reporting by Reuters

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