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Samoa: Fear of diseases in aftermath of tsunami

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  • Samoa: Fear of diseases in aftermath of tsunami

    Samoa health official fear of outbreak of infectious diseases 2009-10-05 08:49:19 Print

    APIA, Samoa, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The head of Samoa's Ministry of Health, Palanitina Toelupe, said on Sunday that the sick people were not coming forward despite infectious diseases threatening the tsunami-stricken nation.

    Toelupe said that all of the country's 10,000 homeless face the risk of disease.

    Besides diarrhoea and gastroenteritis, she was worried about the potential for cases of typhoid and dengue fever to surge.

    "People are not coming forward to be treated. They are just keeping away from the affected areas and staying inland. So the health professionals, as well as colleagues from Australia and New Zealand, are going out to see them and try to encourage them to come forward," said Toelupe, the CEO of Samoa's Health Ministry.

    The Samoan government is to put on a mass funeral for the victims of the tsunami, with about half of the bodies expected to be buried in a communal service.

    The confirmed combined death toll for the tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and the northern Isles of Tonga is 176, 135 of the min Samoa.

    Aid workers in Samoa said that directing water to where it is needed most is proving difficult, as the tsunami relief effort continues.

    The Red Cross said it is tough getting water to those in hilly, makeshift villages who are too scared to return home.