Impact of Disasters on Public Health in Pakistan

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.02.Art068

Authors : Muhammad Khan Tunio


Pakistan is a state of four provinces, Punjab, Sindh, Khyberpakhtunkhawa and Baluchistan and it contains four federal territories, Islamabad, FATA (Federally administered tribal areas), AJK (Azaad Jamu and Kashmir) and Gilgat Balitistan. Pakistan’s neighbor countries are India, China, Iran and Afghanistan.

With an estimated more than 180 million population, Pakistan is the sixth biggest country in the world and second largest Muslim country after Indonesia, with life expectancy of 65 years with literacy rate of 49 percent (63 male and 36 female) and HDI (Human development Index) ranks of Pakistan is 141 of 182 and considered as an under developed country.

The despite of 33 of its 67 years under military rule the situation of security in the country is complex with multiple overlapping threats from bordering countries like Afghanistan and India. This increase in the magnitude of its natural disasters like floods, earthquake and droughts and whole situation explains Pakistan as a disaster-prone country. Some unseen disasters like Mega flood in 2010 (20 million affected and destroyed two million homes, 514 health facilities destroyed, almost a size of England land inundated), 2011 and 2012 heavy monsoon rains, 2013 and 2014 military operations against terrorism in the areas near to Afghan border left millions homeless (Around four million IDPs and refugees, including 2005 earthquake) and 2014 floods in KPK and Punjab are a real issue with the limited resources of state which are prioritized to address emergencies.

The Health indicators were poor before the floods and terrorism, counter war as MMR 230 (190-280) per 100000 live births and 89 per 1000 live births in under five children.  The flood dragged population further down on the socioeconomic Quintiles and these disasters worsened their life style and left a high impact on public health of the people. High Global acute malnutrition rates, stunting rates, psychiatric shocks due to frequent and ongoing terrorist attacks and displacement had affected the population, prone to the disasters. This situation clearly hurdles country to show standard and required progress on millennium development goals.


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[2.] +Floods in Pakistan- a public health crisis by Haiderwadaich, Anita KM Zaidi and Kavita Patel, Bull World Health Organ. Mar 1, 2011; 89(3):  236–237.doi:  10.2471/BLT.10.083386

[3.] Impact of Afghan war on economy of Pakistan. Annexure III of economic survey of 2013 and 2014 Pakistan.

[4.] *** Government of Pakistan, Economic survey 2010-11, Report

[5.] * Ministry of planning, development and reforms commission Pakistan report 2013 on “Pakistan Millennium development goals.”

[6.] ** Planning commission, planning and development division Government of Pakistan. “National nutrition survey 2011” survey report.