September 22, 2008

Waterborne Diseases Stalk Flood Relief Camps in Nepal

Waterborne diseases stalk flood relief camps in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- A number of Saptakoshi flood victims in southeastern Nepal have been suffering from waterborne diseases, local news website THT Online reported Saturday.

During a medical check-up among flood victims putting up in Bhardaha-based temporary relief camps, 11 were found to be suffering from cholera, Dr. Sarbesh Jha, Saptari medical officer of the World Health Organization, said.

According to him, most of cholera patients were Indian nationals.

"A team from the Doctors Sans Frontier also diagnosed two flood victims with cholera," said Gaurishankar Dev, a senior assistant health worker at the Saptari District Public Health Office (DPHO).

Stool of dysentery patients has been sent to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu for further tests, a senior administrator at the DPHO, Chandra Dev Mehata, said.

Forty victims, including 20 children, have been suffering from measles, the WHO officer Jha said, adding that one-third of the measles patients were from India.

Meanwhile, two children of Sunsari district have been admitted to a local hospital as they started showing symptoms of polio.

A vaccination campaign was launched in the relief camps as symptoms of measles and polio were seen, the Saptari DPHO said.

Polio drops and measles vaccines were administered to 3,794 and 3,506 children respectively, senior health assistant Dev said.

Dysentery has killed 17 camp inhabitants so far.

Over 5,000 people displaced by the mid-August Saptakoshi flood are suffering from various health related problems.

Around 10 Village Development Committees (VDCs) were in full or partial inundation in Sunsari and Saptari districts bordering India, some 220 km southeast of Kathmandu, after the embankment of the Saptakoshi River suddenly broke down on Aug. 18.

The displaced people in Sunsari district have been temporarily shifted to 23 camps, where flood-displaced neighboring Indians also took shelter.

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