Basic living conditions in Interior Sindh
Sep 22nd, 2010
Field Report 2
Here is the second installment of news updates from the ground:
Date: Sep 5th, 2010
Location, Khaipur, Sindh
Summary: “The situation around Khairpur District is extremely dire. There is extreme concern for the spread of communicable disease in camps that lack basic hygienic facilities including clean water and proper latrines. The SHINE Humanity/CDRS team forward operating mobile medical camp has been on the front lines of treating the acute medical conditions of IDPs and has stressed proper hygiene to prevent disease and malnutrition. Every time our camp has been established in a neglected area, we have been warmly received by the destitute populations. Our goal in the upcoming days is to continue to work closely with our NGO partners and continue to focus on treating these needy under-served populations.”
Report: “As our flight from Islamabad was approaching Sukkur's Airport, we could clearly see the destruction caused by the Indus River from our airplane. The extent of the destruction is difficult to describe. Even from the air, we could see hundreds of acres of land submerged by the floods. Whole villages have been destroyed by the unrelenting water.
“Once we landed, we were greeted by CDRS's first mobile medical relief unit that is based in Sukkur, Sindh. We unloaded our medical relief supplies, including essential antibiotics, and began our trip into interior Sindh. As we made our way to Khairpur District, which is approximately one hour south of Sukkur, we could see hundreds of IDPs in tents and makeshift habitats lining the roads.
“SHINE Humanity/CDRS had been contacted by a local NGO, the IRC (Indus Resource Centre) to assist with medical relief operations throughout the district of Khairpur. Thus when we arrived in the city, we were debriefed about the situation by a representative of the IRC. Approximately 193,931 people have been displaced and are currently scattered in makeshift government or NGO camps in this district. The damage of the flooding in Khairpur district alone includes the destruction of approximately 12,584 houses and approximately 46,055 acres of crops. The situation is dire and appears to be worsening as there are reports of disease spreading through the IDP camps.
“After the debriefing, we decided that it would be necessary to coordinate both with the IRC and the local health officers in creating an effective plan to focus on those IDPs that have yet to receive adequate medical attention. The decision was jointly made to go to the outskirts of Khairpur (approximately 2 hours away from city-centre) and run mobile medical camps in those areas that border the flooded villages. Many of these areas have not receive any medical care at all and the majority of the IDPs at those sites are living in makeshift camps.
“As we made our way out of city-centre, we could see with our own eyes that acres of land continue to be submerged under water. And unlike the city of Khairpur, we began to realize that most of the displaced outside of the city were living in makeshift camps that had no access to adequate sanitation or clean water. The lack of basic hygienic conditions was quite evident as we saw the the victims of the flooding utilizing the same stagnant flood water for drinking, bathing, excretion, and washing livestock.
“We set up our camps on high ground bordering the low lying flooded areas. All of our mobile medical camps have been created in makeshift shelters. The process of patient care includes registration of the patient and obtaining statistical information, assessment and evaluation of the patients by myself and our EMT, and then proper dispensation of medical supplies and medications by our pharmaceutical dispenser.
“Once word spreads through the populace that a mobile medical camp has been set up, hundreds of individuals inundate our medical camps. Almost all of the flood victims state that we are the first medical team they have seen since the devastating floods. The majority of the patients are women and children whose overall health and nutrition has been poor to begin with. Now after the flooding, their medical problems have been exacerbated.
“In the heat without any proper shelter, most of the patients we see are in some state of dehydration regardless of their actual medical complaints. In addition to providing medical care, our team stresses the importance of clean water and we educate our patients on utilizing water purification tablets or boiling water before drinking. In addition, the importance of hygiene is also reviewed including bathing in clean water and not contaminating bath or drinking water with human/livestock waste.
“In regards to the medical situation, it is quite evident that these individuals are suffering from not only nature's wrath but disease. In our first camp we saw approximately 88 individuals with almost half of the patients being children. The major complaints included severe dehydration, weakness, fever, diarrhea/gastroenteritis, and respiratory tract illness. In addition to providing appropriate antibiotic coverage and pain/ fever relief we also provide an abundance of ORS packets and water purification tablets as we realize that in this intense heat, being well hydrated is key to maintaining good health.
“One particular case that is difficult for me to forget was when we saw a lethargic infant who was barely moving and was severely dehydrated. After seeing the severity of the case, our team acted quickly and provided appropriate acute medical care. In addition we educated the mother of the child and referred her to the local government hospital for ongoing therapy.
“As we continue our mobile medical camps, our patient numbers have continued to increase. In the past few days, we have seen 191 patients in one day and the subsequent day we have seen an all time high of 357. Once again, the great majority of our patients are women and children who are suffering primarily from dehydration, presumed malaria, respiratory tract infections, gastroenteritis/ diarrhea, and skin infections. Once again, in addition to treating their acute medical conditions promptly and effectively, our mobile medical team has continued to focus on hygiene and safe water education.
Report prepared by Dr Rafi Ahmed, resident UCLA Medical Center, volunteer
Date: Sep 3rd, 2010
Location: Sibi and Jaffarabad, Balochistan
“Today, our medical team saw 270 patients. We are based at a camp that houses 1,000 people. The doctors used up $1,200 in medicines which we were able to procure in the markets in Quetta, which is a three hour drive from where we are based. Temperatures outside are a scorching 50 degrees, and several of our staff members suffered heat stroke from prolonged exposure.
“The people here have lost everything and have no money to buy food or basic necessities, though all of that they would need are available in the open markets. They have no shelter, and are sleeping under plastic sheets and wooden cots. There is no supply of clean drinking water, and we have seen people defecating in the same river as they draw drinking water from. To complicate matters, many of the children have severe dental problems, no basic hygiene items; lost everything. We desperately need to get infant formula - the children are so malnourished that we can’t find veins to inject IV fluids. The mothers can no longer nurse as they to have nothing to eat or drink. Our doctors came across a severely dehydrated woman who was nine months pregnant, and had no shelter to sleep. We did give her some IV fluids, and the next day, when we revisited, she appeared much better.
We also came across a man with gangrene. The doctors tended to his open wounds and he is now healing. The most heart-breaking story we heard was of a 13 year old girl. She was referred to us by her mother-in-law - the girl had been sold as a child bride by her parents and was being repeatedly raped and abused by her now “husband”. We arranged a lady health worker to visit her, with the aim of stabilizing her condition and removing her from danger, but the family fled with her from their temporary location once they realized they were in violation of child protection laws. The children here are very emaciated and need iron supplements.”
Report by Rasha Tarek, Volunteer
Date: Sep 2nd, 2010
Location: Ganju Takkar, District Hyderabad
“Today, we have checked 74 patients in camp near OGDC Office Ganju Takkar Hyderabad where around 200 IDPs are living. The patients were suffering from diarrhea, chest infection, flue, anxiety and skin diseases. We have provided them medicines. The community received 200 kg of flour, 112 1.5 liter bottles of water, 10 kg of sugar, 3 kg dry milk and 2 kg tea,”
Report prepared by Dr. Muhammad Sharif, USI Field Officer, Mirpurkhas, Badin & Tando Allahyar
Date: Sep 1, 2010
Location: Hoosri, District Hyderabad
“There were forty five tents and around 200 IDPs of flood effected areas. Our team checked 67 patients in a tent colony suffering from chest infections, diarrhea, skin diseases and flu. After treating the patients, we distributed 100 bottles of mineral water. We distributed the following food items: 10 kg of dry milk, 20 kg of baby cereal, and 5 kg of tea.”
Report prepared by Dr. Muhammad Sharif, USI Field Officer, Mirpurkhas, Badin & Tando Allahyar
Flood waters in Sukkur
An infant facing severe dehydration receives care
Dislocated communities with nowhere to go
Women and children patients