Dysentery spreads as floods recede

Authorities in India and Bangladesh face outbreaks of diseases as water levels fall.

    Up to 30 million people across South Asia
    have been affected by the flooding [AFP]
    In the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, the authorities say the death toll has climbed to 328 people.
     
    Diarrhoea cases
     

    Water-borne diseases remain a significant
    threat in flood-affected areas [AFP]

    At least 18,300 people suffering from diarrhoea have been admitted to hospitals across Bangladesh in the past eight days due to a shortage of drinking water, Aisha Akhter, a health spokesperson, said.
     
    There have been outbreaks of respiratory, skin and eye diseases over the past week, Akhter said, noting reports of more than 4,000 new cases of water-borne diseases in the past 24 hours.
     
    Shahadat Hossain, a doctor at the country's largest diarrhoea hospital in Dhaka, said: "The situation is very acute and alarming."
     
    The government said it had mobilised thousands of medical workers and distributed millions of water purification tablets.
     
    Al Jazeera exclusive

    Owen Fay reports on the flooding crisis in Bangladesh

    Bangladesh's flood-monitoring agency said inundated areas were still suffering shortages of food even as officials said 8,000 tons of food had been distributed since late July.
     
    The military-backed government has appealed to political parties, wealthy citizens and foreign countries to help get food to nine million flood victims.
     
    India deaths
     
    In India, at least 251 have died since last week because of the monsoon floods.
     
    This included 25 bodies recovered in eastern Bihar state and 14 in northern Uttar Pradesh since Tuesday.
     
    Some people have criticised the government for failing to do more to strengthen embankments against the floods.
     
    Doctors at the main hospital in Patna, the state capital, said scores of people were arriving with symptoms of water-borne viruses such as hepatitis.
     

    Flooding has seriously affected up to 60
    per cent of Bangladesh's territory [AFP]

    RK Singh, Bihar's chief relief co-ordinator, said: "In 70 per cent of cases water pouches burst on impact after being air-dropped and so we will now consider putting plastic water bottles in the food packets that are dropped by helicopters."
     
    Bihar has asked the federal government for two million tons of wheat and rice to feed its population, including two million people living in the open.
     
    Estimated losses
     
    National authorities have put the estimated losses to the state at about $38m.
     
    Areas of Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Assam states were also  submerged during the rains, affecting another 6.5 million people.
     
    Bhumidhar Barman, the Assam relief minister, said the situation had improved there.
     
    The World Food Programme and Unicef have been distributing emergency food supplies to thousands of people in Bangladesh and Nepal, said WFP spokesman Simon Pluess in Geneva.
     
    India has not requested any aid, he said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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