DADU    -   As more than 78,000 patients showed up in health camps in the flood-hit ar­eas of Sindh in the past 24 hours, dis­ease outbreaks continue to be a worry in the province, where six more died of gastroenteritis and other illnesses.

According to the provincial health department, two died of gastroenteri­tis, two of pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO) — a condition in which a per­son has a temperature accompanied by more than three weeks of illness — and one each of myocardial infarction and cardiopulmonary arrest.

The department said in a daily situ­ation report on Wednesday that vari­ous diseases had claimed 324 lives in the province since July 1.

Sindh, where floodwaters descend­ing from the country’s north and hill torrents from Balochistan have con­verged to give rise to a health crisis, has seen thousands displaced by del­uges and now being inflicted by vari­ous diseases, mainly water-borne.

With Pakistan’s already weak health system and lack of support, displaced families have complained of being forced to drink and cook with dis­ease-ridden water. Skin infections, diarrhoea and malaria are rampant in parts of flood-ravaged regions, au­thorities said on Wednesday, as prime minister said it was going through one of the most “toughest times”.

Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods are living in the open, and as floodwaters — spread over hundreds of kilometres — may take two to six months to recede, stagnant waters have led to serious health issues. With country’s already weak health sys­tem and lack of support, displaced fami­lies have complained of being forced to drink and cook with disease-ridden wa­ter. Authorities have also warned that the situation may get out of control if required aid doesn’t arrive.