Air-drops of food and medicine try to ease suffering in Bihar
Thousands of people are falling sick as flood waters recede across South Asia, with health workers struggling to cope with inadequate medical stocks.
Ponds of stagnant water are creating breeding grounds for disease.
Thousands have been treated for diarrhoea in India’s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states and a doctor in Bangladesh called his medical center a “war-zone”.
About 28m people have been affected by the floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. More than 400 people have died.
Thousands of villages are still under water and although many countries have pledged aid, many areas are desperate for food and clean drinking water.
The rains have halted in most parts of South Asia but with the water receding after two weeks of floods, health workers are now faced with increasing cases of water-borne diseases.
At Bangladesh’s biggest diarrhoea hospital in the capital, Dhaka, doctors said they were working round the clock to cope with the rush of flood victims.
“It’s like a war-zone situation. Some patients are very ill but the treatment is extremely effective,” Dr Alejandro Cravioto told the AFP news agency.
In Uttar Pradesh, LB Prasad, a senior health official told Associated Press that doctors had treated more than 1,500 people for diarrhoea in 22 flood-affected districts in the past 10 days.
However, a private group of doctors in the state says that around 20,000 people there are suffering from water-borne diseases.
“Paramedics visiting affected villages don’t have adequate supplies of medicines,” Dr Ramadan Ray said.
More than 2,000 villages in the state remain flooded, and an equal number of medical camps have been set up to cope with any outbreak of disease.
THE ASIAN MONSOON
Monsoon winds blow north-easterly for one half of the year, and from the south-west for the other half
South-westerly winds bring the heavy rains from June to Sept
Winds arrive in southern India six weeks before the north west
Annual rainfall varies considerably
Unicef has begun inoculation programmes in the state, particularly against measles.