Newborn babies go hungry in Pakistan flood zone

STORY: Ayesha Arbelo had labor pains as the floodwaters hit her village in Pakistan just over a week ago.

Her worried father rushed her to hospital, where she gave birth to her daughter Shehzadi by C-section.

The family are now sheltering at a camp, some 50 miles from her hometown of Mehar, in Pakistan's stricken Sindh province, with others whose homes are now under water. Ayesha's husband is in Punjab state for work.

“Sometimes we don’t eat for two days and I've no milk to breastfeed my child." she says. "I'm sick and so is my baby. The hospital gave me medicine. God willing, she'll be all right now.”

The United Nations Population Fund says 138,000 of the women displaced by Pakistan's floods are pregnant.

It's racing against time to help the 40,000 expecting to give birth this month - sending mobile teams and setting up temporary hospitals.

At the local clinic, Doctor Abdul Rauf examined Shehzadi.

“This child is suffering because of a lactation problem in the mother. The milk is not coming to the mother’s breast because of her malnutrition. We get patients like her with these feeding problems for children under six months old. Also other illnesses are on the rise due to compromised nutrition.”

Aid groups also fear children are particularly vulnerable to sickness as the waters recede.

Some 500 of the 1,400 people killed in the floods have been children, according to official figures.

Blocked roads, damaged buildings and collapsed bridges have severely hampered access to emergency medical support.