WHO chips in to help flood victims in Bihar, Nepal

September 6th, 2008 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been supplying emergency medicines and equipment for the flood victims of India’s Bihar and neighbouring Nepal.A large number of people in Bihar’s 16 districts and parts in Nepal, which share border with the Indian state, have been badly hit by the floods caused by breach in Kosi river’s ’s embankment in Kusaha, Nepal.

The WHO help is aimed at “minimising the risk of disease outbreaks and provide basic healthcare for the millions affected by Kosi river floods”.

“The WHO’s assistance includes supplying emergency medicines and equipment for 180,000 people, supporting disease surveillance and child immunisation campaigns, and ensuring safe drinking water,” said Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO regional director for Southeast Asia, in a statement here Saturday.

“The situation has worsened as the river changed course, moving 120 km eastwards,” the statement said.

According to the WHO estimate, the floods have affected 3.4 million people in over 1,900 villages in India, and some 285 relief camps and 249 health centres have been opened for the displaced.

The WHO is working with the UN Disaster Management Team, India’s ministry of health and family welfare and Bihar’s department of health to cope with the humanitarian crisis.

“As close partners, the WHO collaborates with India in support of the country’s efforts to deal with the impact of the floods,” WHO representative to India Salim J. Habayeb said.

WHO is supplying emergency medicines and equipment that can treat 60,000 people for one month.

“These supplies will be able to treat people suffering from common diseases and malaria,” said Eric Laroche, assistant director general of WHO’s health action in crises cluster.

Over 70 WHO staff from the national polio surveillance programme have been closely monitoring the health situation in temporary accommodation camps.

The WHO is providing $12,000 to the Indian Red Cross for logistic support in order to facilitate the prompt delivery of relief material, including safe drinking water, tents, bed nets, and clothing.

In Nepal, WHO said, the floods have displaced over 70,000 people. The world health body has provided essential drugs and medical supplies including emergency medicines for 5,000 severe cases, and inter-agency health kits that can supply 120,000 people for one month.

The WHO has also provided malaria kits for 10,000 people for three months, as well as three diarrhoeal kits that can be used to treat over 5,500 patients in Nepal.

“The WHO is monitoring the situation very closely with the epidemiology and diseases control division of the ministry of health, to ensure the health of the affected people,” WHO representative to Nepal Alex Andjaparidze said.

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