As officials struggled to contain the outbreak of acute diarrhoea among earthquake victims in Pakistan, the United Nations has requested all nations for urgent funding to scale up effort to provide safe drinking water and sanitation.
"We once more appeal for the required funding and resources to be made available now, so that we can support the government of Pakistan in repairing the water supply, setting up adequate sanitation facilities and providing emergency healthcare to those affected," Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of UN Jan Vandemoortele said in New York.
The World Health Organisation country representative Khalif Bile said, "Although the laboratory diagnosis is not yet confirmed, these cases of acute watery diarrhoea should be taken extremely seriously."
Diarrhoeal diseases are caused by bacteria getting into the potable water supply system, much of which has been damaged or destroyed by the October 8 quake, which killed at least 73,000 people, injured almost as many others, and left up to 3 million more homeless in northern Pakistan.
With the establishment of self-settled camps by homeless communities, people are living in crowded conditions marked by unsafe water and poor sanitation, the UN said.
A key priority by the end of November, the world body said, is also to improve the sanitation, water supply, and healthcare conditions in the self-settled camps.
UN agencies and other humanitarian actors are working closely with the Federal Relief Commission and the Pakistani military to train teams to visit the camps and assist with water, sanitation and hygiene education, they said.