ISLAMABAD— A case of the deadly, waterborne disease cholera has been confirmed in Pakistan's flood-ravaged northwest, and aid workers expect it is not isolated, the UN said Saturday. The chilling discovery underscores the latest threat to the millions whose lives have been disrupted by the crisis and came as new flood surges hit the south.
Pakistan toned down its usually festive Independence Day celebrations Saturday in light of the flooding disaster, which has battered its economy and undermined its political stability at a time when the United States needs its steadfast cooperation against Islamist extremism.
Government leaders were expected to spend much of the day visiting flood victims. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also was expected to visit sometime soon, possibly over the weekend.
Around 1,500 people have died in the floods, which have affected directly or indirectly 14 million people. Aid workers have warned that diseases spread in the aftermath could raise the death toll.
One case of cholera had been fully confirmed in Mingora, the main town in the northwest's Swat Valley, UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano said Saturday. Other cases were suspected, and aid workers are now responding to all those exhibiting acute watery diarrhea as if it is cholera, Giuliano said.