Saturday, May 10, 2008

Urgent health-care and food needed for survivors

One week after the deadly cyclone, survivors in the Irrawaddy Delta still urgently need health care and food, while many are suffering from trauma, residents and aid workers said.In Laputta Township, 30 monasteries and schools were filled with homeless survivors who were sharing food collected from local residents."But it is not enough for them," said an eyewitness from the township.
Others were in desperate need of medical care, as many suffered cuts and burns on their bodies from debris and the cyclone's severe winds and lashing rains, the witness said.International health experts suggested that starvation was looming and diseases were increasing by the day. But aid workers were becoming increasingly frustrated by the military government's refusal to grant visas for aid workers and allow in shipments.Shantha Bloemen, Bangkok-based spokeswoman for UNICEF, told Mizzima the major concerns were sanitation and water contamination. She said water-purification tablets and health-sanitation facilities were needed to prevent the outbreak of diseases and diarrhea. Many children already had diarrhea, which "is a big killer of children," she said."Malaria and dengue is a serious problem," she added.Moreover, survivors were suffering from trauma after the cyclone's storm surge dragged away their families in front of their eyes.A survivor from Chan Thar Kyi village, 10 miles from Laputta Township, lost nine family members in the cyclone."I lost all my family members while we tried to escape from the heavy storm," he said. "I lost them while I tried to pull them from the storm and rain. I lost them all. I did not get back any of their bodies.
"The man added, "Nobody cares about the dead bodies spread on the ground while we try to reach downtown for food and water."An eyewitness said survivors had blank stares when he talked to them.He added: "We do not have any food and water after the cyclone. We have been trying to drink rain water but it has been made salty and we could not drink it."According to an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report, 92 percent of houses in Laputta Township were destroyed by the cyclone.Many survivors were taken to nearby townships, such as Myaungmya and Wakema, in Irrawaddy Division, because there wasn't enough food assistance in Laputta Township."Yesterday morning, military trucks from battalion 66 came and picked up survivors, those who freshly arrived from villages by boat, and carried them to Myaungmya and Wakhema Township," the eyewitness said.------------------------------WFP halts aid to Burma: APMizzima News
Friday, 09 May 2008 22:30WFP halts aid to Burma: APThe World Food Program suspended aid to cyclone victims in Burma because the military regime seized supplies flown into the country, according to Associated Press.

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