Pakistani Earthquake Survivors Face New Challenges in Monsoon Season

Ten months after the massive earthquake of 8 October 2005 in northern Pakistan that killed at least 75,000 people and left 3.5 million homeless, survivors confront the ravages of monsoon floods and the specter of debilitating water-borne diseases.

Flooding contaminated rivers and streams that children drank from, making them seriously ill. Inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene habits compound the problem. In the first 10 days of August 2006 alone, more than 800 patients had been treated for acute diarrhoea at Batagram District hospital in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

UNICEF had brought in clean drinking water to many affected areas after the earthquake, but lack of funds left the agency unable to sustain the shipments beyond June. Although UNICEF had completed hooking up 31 camps housing quake survivors to water pipelines, five more camps are still to be connected.