30 May 2009

Diarrhoea breaks out in storm-hit areas

People remain water-logged after 5 days of deluge diarrhea breaks out in storm-hit areas:
Diarrhea has broken out in the cyclone Aila-hit coastal areas of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Bhola and Hatiya for lack of safe drinking water. At least four people have been reported to have died of diarrhoea in the cyclone affected district of Satkhira alone yesterday, according to local officials. The dead were identified as Abdul Wahab of Mirganj village in Shymnagar upazila, his son Khokan, and Wasek Ali and Mostafa Kazi of Protabnagar village in Ashashuni upazila. Medical teams working in cyclone hit areas fear an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and typhoid from a lack of clean drinking water. Many village wells have been submerged by salty water, making them unfit for drinking, they said. Local UP chairmen, members and leaders also said diarrhoea and skin disease were breaking out in the area as flood waters became stagnant and polluted. They say that many in the storm-hit areas now face acute clean water shortages as floodwater becomes stagnant and polluted. Meanwhile, inadequate medical teams and medicines have made the situation critical. Doctors say they fear an acute outbreak of diarrhoea after the cyclone hit the south and south western part of the country on Monday. At least 176 people died in the cyclone while hundreds of people are made homeless. Medical chief of Khulna district Lutfur Rahman Khan told reporters that there is an acute shortage of drinking water and as a result diarrhoea has broken out, days after the cyclone hit in the region. "The situation is bad and it's a race against time to prevent a full-scale epidemic from breaking out," he said Dr Khan said drinking water is in short supply and the salty water could not be treated with purification tablets and water-treatment facilities brought in by the army were also unable to purify sea water. Sources said thousands of villagers in Bagerhat, Satkhira, Khulna, Bhola and Noakhali now cry for food and drinking water for survival, as relief operations are insufficient to deal with the enormity of the situation. People, particularly those living in remote areas, are the worst-sufferers, as relief materials could not reach them even after four days of the cyclone. Our Satkhira Correspondent said medical teams are not sufficient to treat hundreds of diarrhea patients. Minister for Food and Disaster Management Dr Abdur Razzaque had nearly a four-hour meeting yesterday in Satkhira with the local administration to ensure supply of relief materials for Aila victims. Lt Col Zillur Rahman, who is coordinating the army relief activities in Satkhira, told the meeting that relief did not reach many remote areas when the government officials claimed sending relief materials to each remote area. "A woman dropped to my foot and begged simply for a bottle of water to give her kid who remained unfed for the last three days," the colonel said. Bhola correspondent many reported people were stranded in isolated chars of the district where government relief had not reached yet.