Treacherous winter may kill 'thousands' more in Pakistan's flood-hit areas.

DERA MURAD JAMALI -- A thin sweater, an acrylic shawl with patches, and a pair of plastic shoes, are Mohammad Jamal's only defense against a stinging cold that has enormously added to a barrage of hardships his family and he have been facing for over two months.

Lodged in a tarpaulin tent along the main highway in Dera Murad Jamali, a remote district of southwestern Balochistan province and one of the hardest-hit regions by the recent rains and super floods, the family is haplessly struggling against a treacherous winter that appears to be another nightmare for them.

It has been almost four months since massive rains along with near-apocalyptic floods struck Pakistan, inundating a third of the South Asian country, and thousands of victims are still lodged in tents, shelter camps, or along highways across southern Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

Dozens of other families taking refuge in the regions are going through a similar ordeal.

Both sides of the highway are still under putrid floodwater, aggravating the impact of cold weather.

A group of people was sitting around a fire to keep themselves warm, while many of the children were walking around barefoot, with some wearing plastic shoes or slippers.

But gathering dry wood for fires is another task for the affected people, who have to trudge through the highway to find some as the majority of the area surrounding their temporary housing facility is still submerged.

Almost everyone at the facility was coughing or sneezing or suffering from some kind of illness as the thin-sheeted tents were insufficient to keep the raging cold at bay.

'Almost everyone is feeling unwell here. This I can tell you for sure,' said Jamal, who used to work as a laborer on farmland in the suburbs of Dera Murad Jamali before the massive rains and floods struck in early September.

The farmland is still under the floodwaters, while his house, like hundreds of thousands of others, has been flattened, making it impossible for him to return.

Jamal, a father of four, told Anadolu Agency that the winter has brought a new set of diseases to flood victims.

'We were already grappling with several waterborne, eyes, and skin-related diseases, and now it's dengue, pneumonia, cough, flue, and other illness,' he went on to say.

Harsher months ahead

In case of sickness, the patient's family either transports him to the nearby hospital, which is five kilometers (3 miles) away, on a bull or donkey cart or looks for a lift.


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