PakistaniGirlGettyImages

Simon Roughneen reports from Sindh, Pakistan:

Authorities have ... struggled to cope with a growing number of cases of severe diarrhea and malaria caused by dirty water that offers a perfect breeding ground for insects and disease. More than 500,000 cases of acute diarrhea and nearly 95,000 cases of suspected malaria have been treated since the floods first hit, the U.N.'s World Health Organization said Tuesday.

The big fear is a cholera outbreak, given that little or no capacity is in place to deal with what could be a devastating epidemic. Cases have been reported in Sindh province in recent days, but the Pakistani Government has not yet officially announced anything. Cholera can kill within 48 hours if not treated, and is highly contagious. Once identified it can be treated quickly, usually with basic rehydration treatments.

(Image: A Pakistani girl sits on an evacuation boat as navy officials rescue flood survivor from Dadu district's Gozo on September 8, 2010. By Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images.)

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