Languages
Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 09:28 UK

Bangladesh cyclone diarrhoea fear

Displaced Bangladeshi cyclone victims

Doctors in Bangladesh say they fear an acute outbreak of diarrhoea after Cyclone Aila hit the country and the Indian state of West Bengal on Monday.

They say that many in the storm-hit areas now face acute clean water shortages as floodwater becomes stagnant and polluted.

At least 200 people died in the storm in India and Bangladesh, with officials warning the final toll could be higher.

Nearly half a million people are homeless following the storm.

Relief officials say many more corpses are still to be recovered from the slowly receding flood waters.

'Acute shortage'

A large-scale military and civilian relief operation is under way in Bangladesh and West Bengal, with stranded communities in both countries complaining that aid has been slow to arrive.

"There's an acute shortage of drinking water and as a result diarrhoea has broken out," Lutsur Rahman Khan, medical chief of Bangladesh's Khulna district, told the AFP news agency.

"The situation is bad and it's a race against time to prevent a full-scale epidemic from breaking out."

He said that several levees had been washed away by the cyclone, particularly in areas adjoining the Indian border, which meant that some areas are repeat-flooded every time there is a high tide.

Matters had been made worse because salty water could not be treated with purification tablets while water-treatment facilities brought in by the army were also unable to purify sea water, he said.

The contamination of surface water by the tidal surges has also prompted fears that crops over the next year will be damaged in areas of subsistence agriculture.

The impact of the storm is worst in the Sundarbans delta - which straddles both Bangladesh and West Bengal - and is famous for its mangrove forests and rare Royal Bengal tigers.

The damage to the mangrove forest has been considerable and environmentalists fear that many tigers may have been washed away by the tidal surges.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Cyclone victims are 'without aid'
28 May 09 |  South Asia
'Over 200 killed' by Cyclone Aila
27 May 09 |  South Asia
India flood victims still suffering
09 Jan 09 |  South Asia
'Towns and villages have drowned'
02 Sep 08 |  South Asia
Twenty-three dead in India floods
16 Jun 08 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific