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Diarrhea Outbreak in Cyclone Affected Area in Arakan

Posted by ေက်ာက္ၿဖဴသားေခ် Wednesday, 27 October 2010

By Maung Aye

Mray Bo: An outbreak of diarrhea has spread across the cyclone affected area in Mray Bon and Myinbya Townships in Arakan after Cyclone Giri slammed into several coastal areas of the state last Friday, report locals and relief workers.

At least three people in the area have died after suffering from diarrhea recently after the disease began spreading. The outbreak has been attributed to the contaminated water the cyclone victims have been forced to use for lack of other options.

Two people died in Taung Gri Run Village in Mray Bon Township died on Tuesday, and a 57-year-old woman from Ran Dai Village in Minbya Township died on Wednesday.

Rakhine National Development Party chairman, Dr. Aye Maung, also confirmed there is an outbreak of diarrhea in the area and the death toll from the disease is currently at three.

A relief worker said that most villagers who are living on the islands are now having to drink coconut water after many reservoirs in their villages were washed away by storm surges. The remaining reservoirs in the cyclone affected area have been flooded by saltwater.

"People in the cyclone affected area are having coconuts as food because there is no other food. A few days after they began eating the coconuts, they were hit by the diarrhea," the relief worker added.

A doctor from Sittwe who did not want to reveal his name said that diarrhea had broken out at an "alarming rate" in the affected area after the shortage of food and drinking water. He noted that if there is not food or drinking water, as well as no roofs or wells in the temporary huts used for shelter, the rate of diarrhea will increase drastically.

According to local sources, some local relief organizations brought in fresh water to supply those in the disaster area, but there is not enough for all the victims.

Narinjara attempted to connect with physicians in Mray Bon Township hospital to inquire about the diarrhea outbreak, but was unable to due to phone lines being downed by the storm.

Many villagers in Kyunt Tha Ya are worried that more diseases will infect the survivors after 40 dead bodies washed up near Pyin Wan Village on Kyunt Tha Ya Island after being washed away along with their homes by the tidal surges. Other villages in the area are located on islands some distance from Mray Bon, and due to poor communications no one knows what has happened in those areas after Cyclone Giri brought heavy storms and tidal surges to the region.

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