A six-month period after catastrophic flooding ravaged Pakistan, more than 10 million people, including children, remained without clean drinking water, providing them with little choice but to consume and use possibly disease-ridden water.
Even before the floods, despite the fact that the the nation’s water for drinking delivery system served 92% of the population, only 36% of the water was deemed suitable for use. The floods destroyed most of the afflicted communities’ water infrastructure, forcing more than 5.4 million people, including 2.5 million children, to rely only on polluted water from ponds and wells.
The persistent absence of clean water to consume and bathrooms, as well as the continuing closeness of poor families to pools of sludge, are all leading to extensive occurrences of water-borne diseases like as cholera, diarrhoea, dengue fever, and malaria. Simultaneously, public waste disposal has grown by over fourteen percent in flood-affected areas. To make matters worse, the absence of suitable toilets disproportionately affects children, teenage girls, and women, who face additional embarrassment and danger while defecating outside.
Lack of food is exacerbated by unsafe water and lack of hygiene. Children are deprived of crucial nutrients due to related disorders such as diarrhoea. Furthermore, malnourished children are more vulnerable to infections caused by water due to their compromised immune systems, perpetuating a vicious cycle of hunger and infection. Malnutrition is responsible for one-third of all child fatalities worldwide, and half of all malnutrition cases are connected to diseases that result from a lack of access to safe water, appropriate sanitation, and decent hygiene. Malnutrition is responsible for half of all child fatalities in Pakistan. More than 1.5 million boys and girls are already extremely hungry in areas affected by flooding, and the figure will only climb in the absence of proper water and sanitation.
The writer is the student of journalism department Punjab University Lahore.