On World Refugee Day, Islamic Relief is warning of a second crisis facing more than 3.7 million displaced people in Pakistan as a severe shortage of sanitation facilities has led to outbreaks of disease.
Waterborne diseases and skin conditions are spreading fast amongst the displaced population and local communities due to unsanitary living conditions. Islamic Relief health teams have noted frequent cases of diarrhoea, scabies or malaria, all of which can be deadly, especially for young children.
Islamic Relief’s assessments of schools and homes where displaced people are sheltering have revealed that around 60 per cent have no sanitation facilities or that they are in urgent need of repair. In almost half of these schools and houses water systems also need to be built or repaired.1
At one school in Khairabad where more than 450 displaced people are staying, Islamic Relief engineers found that there was no working latrine. In another school in Gul Bahar, displaced families had no source of water.
Islamic Relief aid worker Sultan Mahmood said, “In the schools and houses I have visited nearly every family has a member suffering from diarrhoea or scabies as a result of poor sanitation facilities and unhygienic living conditions. I have seen up to 20 people sharing one small room, and with so many people living so close to each other these diseases are spreading fast.”
Islamic Relief health teams are concerned that as the monsoon season approaches these problems will get considerably worse. Every year during the monsoon the region floods and rates of malaria and waterborne diseases soar. This year with the influx of so many extra people, the impact is likely to be much more severe.
“As the world marks this year’s World Refugee Day, I would ask people to remember the four million people who have been affected by the displacement crisis in Pakistan,” said Jerome Akram, Islamic Relief’s Head of Programmes. “Although most of the displaced people are not living in tents in camps, they are still facing very real difficulties, not least the serious health concerns we are witnessing.”
Islamic Relief is constructing latrines, washing areas and hand pumps and is carrying out hygiene awareness in schools and households that are sheltering displaced people in Mardan District. We are also providing free healthcare at local health centres through mobile health teams. These services are helping displaced people and the local community in 26 villages.
For more information about the current situation, and for case studies and photographs please contact:
Niyaz Muhammad: 0092 (0) 300 856 1382
Helen Mould: 0044 (0) 7855 499 645