UNICEF reaching Pakistani flood victims through a network of mobile health units
SINDH, Pakistan, 18 October 2011 - Devastated by her husband’s death and displaced by floods, Rani Mauji, 25, holds her badly undernourished baby in her arms, her sad face fixed in an expression of quiet resignation. Omji, her third born, only 20 days old, was born a week after her husband’s death.
Rani’s husband had tuberculosis. He was frail and could hardly move, but the fear of rising water forced the family to leave their straw house in the middle of the night. He died before they could get to safety.
Rani says, " We are fleeing our village when he fell and died. We had to bury him along the way".
“We were fleeing our village when he fell and died. We had to bury him along the way,” recalled Rani, sitting in a dark school corridor where she took refuge along with her three children and mother-in-law.
Assisting flood victimsFor many days the seemingly endless deluge fell, leaving displaced families from Allabukhsh Jarwar village without food, water or medical support. Mothers with new-born babies and pregnant women were in particular need of help, as the risk of diseases such as diarrhoea, acute respiratory infection and malaria increase exponentially with the inclement weather.
As the downpours eased and the scale of the disaster emerged, emergency assistance started to reach many of the 5.4 million affected by the floods. UNICEF, in collaboration with WFP and UNFPA, initiated a joint operation to support government authorities in the worst hit districts of Sindh. Essential medical and health services are now reaching an increasing number of people every day through a network of mobile health units, each including lady health visitors, community midwives and vaccinators.
“He has been suffering from severe diarrhoea and needs to be fed frequently. We heard that a medical team has come to our village so I have come to seek help," says Rani