100,000 Pakistani women at risk

Tens of thousands of newborn babies and their mums in Pakistan could be in serious danger as the floods continue to cause misery for millions of families.

Sumia, 25, gave birth to a baby boy by the side of the road after being forced to evacuate her home in Shlar, Pakistan due to the encroaching floods. They had no time to collect belongings and have no money; they have received no medical care.

At least half a million pregnant women have been affected by the floods, with more than 100,000 of them due to give birth in the next few months. Many will be forced to deliver in temporary shelters or tents, with no access to clean water or health care and often surrounded by contaminated flood water.

"We know that mums are already giving birth in the flimsiest of shelters, only metres from dirty floodwater," said Matt Wingate, who is leading Save the Children's response for Pakistan floods from the UK. "This presents appalling risks in terms of disease and infection, and ultimately poses a serious threat to the lives of mums and their newborn babies."

Even before this disaster, Pakistan had a high infant mortality rate, with one in 20 babies dying before they were a month old.

Matt Wingate continued, "We've established fixed and mobile health clinics and are treating hundreds of people every day, including pregnant women and new mothers."

Helping mums and babies survive

So far we have reached over 160,000 people through emergency medical care and distribution of food, tents, shelter kits, hygiene kits, and other supplies.

Our aid workers have carried pregnant women across swollen rivers to safety, and delivered life-saving care to women giving birth in appalling situations. For example, Abida, pregnant with her first child, was forced to flee her home in Sindh to escape the flooding. She went into labour in a school she was sheltering in along with 2000 other people. Save the Children aid workers helped her and her new baby boy by giving medicines and a special kit for newborns.

Save the Children is working in all four provinces through UN clusters and in partnership with national, provincial and district administrations, to provide assistance to flood affected families. We have been working in Pakistan for more than 30 years.