PESHAWAR: Fehmida Bibi sits in a makeshift shelter in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Tank area, holding her days-old infant while recalling the harrowing night when she gave birth.
“The roof collapsed in the middle of the night as it rained non-stop. We took shelter at a neighbour’s house where I gave birth that night. I was very distressed.” she said.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates, Fehmidi Bibi was one of rougly 650,000 pregnant women in flood-affected areas who require maternity services to ensure a safe pregnancy and childbirth.
“Up to 73,000 pregnant women are expected to give birth in the next month and will need assistance,” the UN agency says.
Many others like Fehmida Bibi are seeking help, including from the country’s chief executive.
“My pregnant daughter is trapped here and needs help in giving birth,” a woman told Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his one-day visit to Kalam. “Help me get her out.”
Many women and girls are also at increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV) with millions now homeless and in need of shelter.
Government statistics show that the recent floods have had an impact on 33 million people nationwide, including 8.2 million women who are childbearing age.
Moreover, the children living in the affected camp of Charsadda are suffering from various diseases, with acute diseases being on the top.