News

UN Warns of Health Crisis in Flood-Stricken South Asia

Multimedia

Audio

United Nations aid agencies are warning that millions of people across South Asia are still facing hunger after some of the worst floods in decades. They say supplies of clean water must reach people marooned by floodwaters in the coming days to head off catastrophic outbreaks of disease. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

United Nations aid agencies say they are rushing supplies of clean water, food and medicines to the stricken area, but they are limited in what they can do. They say floodwaters in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have cut off many areas from road traffic. They say many places only are accessible by air and by boat.

The agencies say stagnant flood waters are breeding grounds for diarrheal and water borne disease, including cholera as well as insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

Spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, Fadela Chaib says about 1,400 cases of diarrhea have been reported in Bangladesh and hundreds of others in Nepal.

"Also, we are concerned about acute respiratory infections, as I said diarrheal diseases, vector-borne diseases and snake bites are also another concern," she said. "In Nepal, for example, WHO has pre-positioned diarrheal and emergency health kits in the most vulnerable areas and is now procuring supplies to equip the more than 10 medical teams in Nepal."

Flooding is an annual event throughout South Asia. But, this year's monsoons are regarded as some of the worst to have hit the region in many years. Some 30 million people have been affected by flash flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

World Food Program spokesman, Simon Pluess, says the effects of the flooding will linger on for a very long time.

"Families have lost crops and livestock. Houses and roads have been destroyed and livelihoods and schooling have been disrupted. Large water masses and soaring temperatures can lead to outbreak of diseases which, of course, puts the health and nutrition of children and vulnerable people at risk," he explained.

Pluess says only Nepal has asked for food assistance, which WFP is prepared to provide.

The U.N. Children's Fund says children, who make up 40 percent of South Asia's population, are particularly susceptible to water-borne and food-borne diseases. The agency says it is carrying out measles vaccination campaigns in Nepal and Bangladesh. And, it is airlifting tankers of purified water to the region.

Other U.N. agencies report they, along with private aid groups and governments also are working to deliver water, re-hydration salts and emergency medical supplies.

In the meantime, the World Meteorological Organization says unsettled weather will continue for the next two day and it is likely that South Asia will be in for a lengthy monsoon season.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs