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Water-Borne Diseases Break Out In Pakistan After Floods

Heavy monsoon rains triggered floods Pakistan's port city of Karachi on August 27.
Heavy monsoon rains triggered floods Pakistan's port city of Karachi on August 27.

Water-borne diseases have hit the largest Pakistani city of Karachi after flooding caused by record heavy rains, officials and rescuers said on September 1.

Cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, and Dengue fever were reported in neighborhoods that were still flooded a week after the deluge started, city administration spokesman Ali Sajid said.

Patients with minor to severe symptoms started streaming into the hospitals on August 31, Sajid added.

The situation could worsen in the coming days if immediate measures are not taken, said Dr. Iqbal Memon, a specialist for infectious diseases.

Almost 50 people have so far been killed in the heaviest rains to ever hit the city, Pakistan's disaster management agency said.

Nearly half of the metropolis with around 20 million inhabitants was still inundated, despite heavy machinery deployed by the military and municipal authorities to drain out the water. It could take rescue agencies a few more days to pump out the stagnant water from streets and buildings, Sajid said.

Pakistan's largest charity, Edhi Foundation, also said their ambulances had picked up a large number of patients with water-borne diseases from inundated areas.

"The number [of total cases] today was double as much as on a normal day," Edhi's spokesman Mohamed Bilal said.

The problem was severe among children and in neighborhoods where water supply lines are mixed with those for sewerage, Bilal said.

Large Pakistani cities like Karachi have regularly faced inundation during monsoon season in recent years. The record heavy rains this year have aggravated the problem.