29 December 2004


After last Sunday's earthquake and tsunami rampage, a threat of post-tsunami disease now hangs unless medical aid and supplies can be transported to those affected and more than 60,000 dead people can be buried as soon as possible.

DISEASE could kill as many along south Asia's stricken coasts as have been killed in the disaster unless clean water and medical help reaches people quickly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

Dr David Nabarro, the executive director of WHO, said a health catastrophe could be avoided only if supplies were rushed to the worst-hit areas.

"There is certainly a chance that we could have as many dying from communicable diseases as from the tsunami," Dr Nabarro told a news conference in Geneva.

The health of babies and young children is the greatest immediate concern in the aftermath.

As it becomes clear that deaths among children, easily washed away by freak waves, were high, they are more at risk than adults from diseases that follow in the wake of polluted water, fractured sewers and exposure.

"Even simple diarrhoea and chest infections can prove fatal," said Dr Vivien Walden, a health adviser to Oxfam.

"Clean water, first and foremost, is the priority," Dr Walden added. "The wells will be polluted. Among the first things Oxfam is providing are buckets to carry water and cooking equipment," she said. Lack of electricity will compound the clean-water crisis if pumping stations fail.


Impassable roads, flooded areas, and destroyed bridges, which are normal in disaster cases like these, are the factors hampering delivery of medical aid where they are needed.

Let's all hope and pray we can spring back to normalcy soon.

0 reactions: