PAKISTAN: Colder weather, disease, threaten displaced | Pakistan
QUETTA, 27 September 2010 (IRIN) - Inside their tent at a camp on the outskirts of Quetta, capital of the southwestern province of Balochistan, Meraj Sindhu helps his wife wrap their six-month-old son and two-year-old daughter in thin cloths widely used in Sindh Province as head scarves or turbans. Sindhu’s wife, Sassui Bibi, tells IRIN: “The children cry with cold through the night.”
She, her husband, and her elderly mother-in-law huddle inside their tent trying to keep warm.
Night-time temperatures in Quetta have dropped to around 12 degrees Celsius, according to the Pakistan Met Office, and dip to below freezing in mid-winter.
Cold weather can trigger disease
Doctors are concerned about the health impact: “I have been receiving more patients - often those from Sindh - suffering upper respiratory tract infections, which may be linked to the change in weather,” Yusuf Khan, a general practitioner who works at a charitable clinic near a makeshift camp, told IRIN.
“Cold weather, and the crowding which results, is associated with more opportunities for person-to-person transmission of respiratory pathogens. So although cold weather doesn't in itself cause disease, it can increase the risk of transmission of certain communicable diseases such as ARIs, meningitis, measles, etc”, Paul Garwood, the World Health Organization’s communications officer, told IRIN.