Pakistan is vulnerable to a range of natural hazards including earthquakes, droughts, floods, landslides, avalanches, cyclones and storms, tsunami, glacial lake outbursts, river erosion, epidemics and pest attacks.
Human-induced hazards that threaten the country include transport, industrial and nuclear accidents, oil spills, urban fires, civil conflicts and internal displacements of communities due to multiple factors.
The high priority hazards, in terms of the scale, impact and frequency of occurrence, include earthquakes, droughts, flooding and transport accidents. These can cause widespread damage and loss.
Emergencies, such as floods and conflict, can lead to displacement and sudden temporary relocation. This leads to poorer living conditions, increased risk of communicable diseases and epidemic outbreaks, malnutrition, physical and mental stress due to insecurity, and inadequate primary health care services.
Floods of 2010
In July 2010, following abnormally heavy monsoon rains, the Indus river rose above its banks and flooded the surrounding areas. By mid-August, the heaviest flooding had moved southward along the Indus river from the already severely affected northern districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the densely populated areas of western Punjab and the southern province of Sindh.
The Pakistan health cluster, under the leadership of WHO, made remarkable efforts in response to the floods. Urgently needed relief assistance was delivered by the Government of Pakistan, United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations. By December 2010, a large relief operation had ensured the provision of basic humanitarian assistance to most affected areas covering the major needs.
Health interventions included:
provision of life-saving drugs to health facilities and mobile clinics operated by health cluster partners
environmental health activities
maternal, neonatal and child health interventions
disability-related and rehabilitation activities
One of the major roles of WHO during the emergency, relief and early recovery periods was to ensure that risks related to the living environment of internally displaced persons and host communities were recognized and properly managed. This was to ensure the prevention and control of preventable diseases. It included ensuring water supply to health care facilities and safe waste disposal.