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- Pakistan: Floods - Sep 2014
- Pakistan: Drought - 2014-2017
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Monday July 2: In the UK family planning is a lifestyle choice but in many of the countries where global health charity Merlin works, this lack of choice can prove fatal.
As we approach the London Summit on Family Planning, it is estimated that every year 287,000 women and girls die from complications in pregnancy and/or childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths occur where poverty, conflict and natural disaster make everyday life a challenge.
The Sindh area of Pakistan has been hit by severe flooding for the second year running.
The latest rains have claimed the lives of more than 300 people and affected more than five million others, many of whom are still suffering as a result of last year’s monsoon that flooded an area the size of the UK. Merlin has been in Pakistan since 2005 and was one of the first agencies to respond to people caught up in last year’s catastrophic floods.
One year after the monsoon flooding that devastated Pakistan in July 2010, Merlin is still working tirelessly to meet the many health challenges faced by the Pakistani people. Ismael Babar had to flee from his home when the floods struck last year.
When he returned the floods had washed away his crops, leaving him and his nine children with nothing to eat.
“I’m old now and I’ve seen a lot but I’ve never seen anything like the floods last year.
We lost everything, the flood washed away our crops and we are left with nothing.
Merlin has worked in Pakistan since 2005, so was ideally placed to respond rapidly and effectively to outbreaks of waterborne disease in the areas of Pakistan hardest hit by the flooding in July last year.
Merlin’s work in Pakistan was confined to Khyber Pantukwha and Sindh provinces of the country, though, until September last year, when Merlin expanded its operations into Punjab province and opened its sixth diarrhoea treatment unit (DTU) in the previously under-served Muzaffargarh area.
As the devastating food crisis sweeps across East Africa, Pakistan is also suffering critical levels of malnutrition, 12 months on from the worst floods in their history.
Last year’s monsoon rains flooded an area the size of the UK, destroying homes and washing away millions of hectares of crops. Following the flood’s path from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the north, international health charity Merlin was one of the first agencies to arrive in Sindh in southern Pakistan and found men, women and children weak with hunger in what is essentially the bread basket of Pakistan.
A year since the most devastating floods in Pakistan's history, thousands of people are still struggling to rebuild their lives and malnutrition rates are critical. Pakistan's poorest and most vulnerable in rural communities in Sindh live in fear of this year's monsoon rains, terrified the floods will return and swallow up what little is left of their lives.
The floods have had a catastrophic impact on the health of the population and as always in disasters it's the weakest and vulnerable that suffers the most; children, women and the elderly.
Last year’s floods were a human tragedy on a vast scale. Disease outbreaks, malnutrition and lack of shelter led to serious health problems, requiring urgent action. More than a million homes were destroyed, 2000 people lost their lives and vital fields and livestock were swept away.
The British public responded amazingly by donating £71m - £41m via the DEC and £30m via its member agencies, which include Merlin.
Islamabad, 4 January 2010 -- In order to prepare for winter and the anticipated health needs that will result, Merlin is taking a number of measures to prepare for this. Focus will especially be given to the most vulnerable conflict and flood affected communities and individuals in Merlin's programming areas, including children, pregnant and lactating women and the elderly.
Merlin is in the process of transitioning 7 Diarrhoea Disease Units (DDUs) into Infectious Disease Units (IDUs) in various districts of KPK and Punjab provinces.
Three months since the flooding in Pakistan began, Merlin has treated nearly 500,000 patients and continues to scale up its activities - reaching two million people - to meet the growing health needs as the disaster continues to expand and unfold.
Though outbreaks of waterborne diseases are beginning to stabilise, Merlin remains vigilant against a possible spike in diarrhoeal disease in the coming weeks and months as people return to their flood-damaged homes for the first time but with limited access to clean drinking water.
Currently, Merlin is operating seven diarrhoea treatment …
On World Polio Day, Sunday 24 October, Merlin joins the global health community in building awareness and providing support to worldwide efforts to eliminate and eradicate a tenacious and devastating disease.
While polio is considered a disease of the past in developed countries - a success resulting from the advent of childhood vaccines - it spreads readily and continues to claim lives and cause debilitating paralysis across the developing world.
"Through the course of my career in health development, keeping children healthy has been an ongoing battle against polio," says …
"We must be prepared to respond to as many as two million cases of malaria over the next four months in all areas that are mildly or severely flood-affected," says Naeem Durrani, Merlin's malaria expert in Pakistan.
"By comparison, last year's estimated figures for all of Pakistan were around 1.5 million cases for the whole year."
Once scale up is complete, the Merlin-trained network of over 2,000 health workers in 16 districts will provide malaria control services through 155 health centres.
Durrani points out that malaria is widespread in all 62 …
As the end of Ramadan approaches and families prepare to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr to welcome in the New Year, Merlin health and medical teams will continue to work 24/7 to ensure flood-affected communities remain healthy.
"This is the most important holiday of the year, and our thoughts are with the thousands of displaced families, who are facing very harsh conditions," says Dr. Asmat Khan, Merlin's Country Health Director.
"They've lost everything in this tragedy.
Merlin has worked in Pakistan since the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, which killed 73,000 people, left thousands homeless and destroyed much of the country's health infrastructure.
Since then, Merlin has responded to Cyclone Yemyin and the flooding in Balochistan in 2007, displacement caused by conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region in 2008 and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in 2009, as well as to the flooding devastating the country at the moment.
The health outlook in Pakistan is one of the bleakest in the world, with around one in ten children dying …
Merlin has scaled up existing operations in northern Pakistan, as fears rise that waterborne diseases could exacerbate the situation following last week's severe flooding.
Merlin has more than 300 medical experts responding to the emergency, which is Pakistan's worst flooding in decades. Our teams are on the ground now in some of the worst affected areas, including Swat Valley, Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, and Nowshera district.
Marinella Bebos, Merlin's operations manager, said: "With water supplies contaminated and an estimated 2.5 million people affected, Merlin's …
25 June 2010
48 hours after a severe storm hit Jalozai camp in Pakistan and Merlin's response team have been working night and day to re-establish health services that were decimated.
We have prioritised setting up primary health centres and pharmacies in all six locations where our clinics once stood.
Thanks to the generous response of the UK public, these services have been speedily rebuilt, meaning that as of this morning thousands can now access medical care.
We are also sending our team of health promoters, themselves displaced people, out into the community to …
Pakistan's internal conflict is leading to thousands of people being forced from their homes on a daily basis. As families flee from South Waziristan to neighbouring Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan) and Tank Provinces, a severe humanitarian situation is emerging.
Almost one in seven displaced people are suffering from global acute malnutrition, according to a recent UN survey.
The first international NGO granted access to the area, Merlin is already on the ground with three mobile nutrition teams who are providing vital emergency health care and distributing nutritional supplements to …
Merlin is providing 24-hour health care for the thousands of people returning home to Buner in the North West Frontier Province, after being displaced by recent fighting. We were one of the first NGOs to enter the area, assess the damage and start work immediately to prepare for people's return.
A member of the assessment team said: "We were shocked by the level of destruction.
On World Humanitarian Day, Merlin honours all those who have lost their lives carrying out humanitarian work in the field and acknowledges those who are currently working in some of the most hostile environments in the world.
Linda Doull, Merlin's Director of Health and Policy said: "We welcome this opportunity organised by the UN, as it has never been so dangerous to be an aid worker. In 2008, 122 aid workers were killed, compared to 79 in 2007 and 86 in 2006.
Merlin's medical teams in Pakistan are working around the clock to deliver vital health care to people displaced by the conflict in Swat valley.
Continued fighting in the SWAT and FATA regions of Pakistan has forced 2.3 million people from their homes in the country's largest internal displacement.
Vulnerable families are being forced to stay with host communities in crowded, cramped conditions whilst 275,000 people are struggling in temporary camps with poor hygiene, limited food, clean water and basic services.
As more and more people flood out of the troubled region, Merlin's medical staff are battling against the threat of disease outbreaks.