Red Cross warns of epidemic risk in flood ravaged Pakistan

OTTAWA, Aug. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is ramping up its relief operations in response to flooding in Pakistan. Over three million people have been affected as the worst flooding in 80 years wreaks havoc across 70 per cent of the country. Despite a rapid humanitarian response Red Cross officials warn that the worst may be yet to come.

"Every effort is being taken to prevent water-borne disease, but with such a large-scale disaster the risk of an epidemic is high," says Hossam Elsharkawi, director of emergency and recovery operations with the Canadian Red Cross. "Diarrhea and Cholera pose significant risks to already vulnerable communities and every effort must be taken to ensure clean water and proper sanitation remains a priority."

In addition to distributions of food and shelter materials, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is working to reduce the public health risks posed by the flooding. The Red Cross is currently expanding preventive health measures and contingences for flood-affected areas, and plans for repairing critical water infrastructure and restoring it to working order.

In addition to these efforts, the Canadian Red Cross has already deployed four mobile clinics and a seven-person paramedic team to affected communities in support of on-going Red Crescent efforts.

"Our teams in Pakistan are doing everything they can to mitigate the health risks posed by the flooding," adds Elsharkawi. "But with the widespread flooding and continuous rains, it is a race against time for aid organizations."

Canadians wishing to make a financial donation may give online at www.redcross.ca, call 1-800-418-1111 or contact their local Canadian Red Cross office. The 24-hour toll free line accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Pakistan Floods 2010" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2P2.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and over 185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

SOURCE CRISIS IN PAKISTAN

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Canadian Red Cross, Media Line, 613-740-1994

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CRISIS IN PAKISTAN

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