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Diarrhoea outbreak after Cyclone Aila

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  • Diarrhoea outbreak after Cyclone Aila


    Diarrhoea outbreak after Bangladesh cyclone

    KOYRA, Bangladesh (AFP) ? An outbreak of diarrhoea has spread across Bangladesh's south-west after a cyclone slammed into the south of the country and neighbouring India earlier in the week, officials said Sunday.

    At least 237 people were killed after Cyclone Aila on Monday hit the low-lying coast north of the Bay of Bengal, where a military and civilian relief operation is now underway.

    Doctors said diarrhoea had broken out at an "alarming rate" as inundation and waterlogging in a vast swathe of land close to the world's largest mangrove forest Sundarbans has destroyed supplies of drinking water.

    In the worst affected Koyra, Dakope and Khulna districts at least two people have died and over 5000 people treated for diarrhoea, half in the last 24 hours, regional medical chief Lutfur Rahman Khan told AFP.

    "The situation is alarming. So far we have more than 5000 people who are sick with diarrhoea in this region. Another 3000 have been treated for water borne diseases like dysentery," Khan said.

    Khan said breached levees and washed away embankments enabled tidal seawater to inundate the region, destroying almost all sources of fresh drinking water.

    "The crisis is worsening every day. People are leaving their villages for cities and towns," he said.

    In neighbouring Satkhira district doctors have treated over 2000 cases of diarrhoea since the cyclone hit, again with half the cases reported in the last 24 hours, head of the district medical service Mohammad Ibadullah said.

    The government said it has dispatched nearly 900 medical teams to tackle the crisis but charities and local officials warned any improvement would depend on how soon the authorities can rebuild the destroyed embankments.

    The army had brought in fresh water supplies but not enough for the cyclone victims.

    On Saturday Oxfam's Bangladesh operations chief Heather Blackwell called the situation "an emerging humanitarian crisis. And it's getting worse every day," adding more than one million people had been affected.

    Some 167 people died in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, while 70 people were killed in India as a result of the cyclone.

    Of those killed in India's West Bengal state, 20 were killed in mudslides caused by rainfall a day after the storm hit.

    The low-lying region frequently experiences tropical storms and cyclones during the monsoon season. In 2007, more than 3,500 people were killed, most of them in Bangladesh, when Cyclone Sidr lashed the same districts.

  • #2
    Re: Diarrhoea outbreak after Cyclone Aila


    Enteric diseases kill five in (India's) Sundarbans' Aila-hit areas

    (Source: IANS)
    Published: Mon, 08 Jun 2009 at 18:46 IST
    F Prev Next L

    Kolkata: Five people died and more than a thousand were afflicted with enteric diseases in the cyclone Aila-hit areas of the Sundarbans in West Bengal, an official said Monday.

    "All the five deaths have been reported from Satjelia gram panchyat of the remote Gosaba block, which was heavily damaged in the (May 25) cyclone," South 24 Parganas zilla parishad (district council) chief Shamima Bibi told IANS on telephone.

    She said enteric diseases were spreading in all the affected blocks including Basanti, Patharpratima, Kultali and Mathurapur.

    There is also a fear of a malaria outbreak as the areas have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

    "The water has become contaminated. Bleaching powder is also not being sprayed properly. We need pure drinking water, but the government has not been able to supply it," Shamima said.

    She also alleged that several block development officers were lax in organising relief and taking sanitation measures.

    Volunteers involved in the relief operations in the Sundarbans had expressed fears of an epidemic once the floodwaters recede from the mangrove forests that cover the region.

    So far, 142 people have died while nearly 600,000 houses have been damaged in the calamity, which has affected over 8.7 million people. Forty-nine people perished in South 24 Parganas alone.