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Waterborne Diseases Plague Flood Victims Across South Asia

Health officials in South Asia are battling outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea and other waterborne diseases following the region's worst monsoon flooding in 30 years.

Doctors at a main diarrhea hospital, the International Centre for Diarrheal Diseases, in Bangladesh say the center is overcrowded with people in dire need of treatment. A senior expert at the center told VOA at least 80 percent of patients admitted are infected with cholera.

Officials also say tens of thousands of Bangladeshi flood victims are suffering from diarrhea.

In India's Bihar state, one of the hardest hit areas, aid workers are also struggling to fight the spread of disease, especially among children.

Stagnant waters, which still cover thousands of villages across South Asia, are breeding grounds for disease.

Nearly 2,000 people have died in India, Bangladesh and Nepal since the monsoon rains began in mid-June, the vast majority in India.

The United Nations warned of disease outbreaks in the region earlier this week as rescue workers struggled to deliver food and water to an estimated 30 million people displaced by the rains.

Cholera and diarrhea can be fatal in people without treatment or safe water to drink.

Relief efforts have been hampered by insufficient supplies and washed out roads. U.N. aid agencies say many areas are only accessible by air or boat.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.