WHO warns of disease risk in flood-hit Thailand

Thailand's hundreds of thousands of flood victims are at risk of water-borne diseases and infections, the World Health Organisation said Saturday, though no major outbreaks have been reported yet.

The spread of such as diarrhoea, respiratory illness and among displaced flood victims in shelters was a key concern, the country's WHO representative Maureen Birmingham told AFP.

Flood-affected people also faced an increased risk of skin fungal infections and leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread through , she said.

"Those risks are there," said Birmingham, who is also the acting United Nations Resident Coordinator in Thailand. "But thus far there have been no reported major outbreaks."

The biggest danger facing the flood victims was drowning, she said, adding that residents should take care when fishing and they should be aware of the risks of electrocution and snake bites.

Three months of unusually heavy monsoon rains have inundated large swathes of the country, killing more than 350 people and forcing tens of thousands of families to seek refuge in evacuation centres.

Bangkok, a city of 12 million people, has so far escaped the brunt of the nation's worst flooding in decades, but run-off water from the north has started seeping into parts of the city and locals braced for worse to come.

"Bangkok faces the same needs as for other flooded areas but in a far higher quantity," said Birmingham, noting that the densely populated capital was highly dependant on supply chains that might be interrupted.

"A lot of (UN) agencies are aware that there may be a big need for survival commodities."

Birmingham advised residents to "have a good stockpile of meds and a supply of hygiene materials", adding that this was especially important for people with chronic conditions.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Two million sick from Pakistan floods

Sep 22, 2011

Two million Pakistanis have fallen ill from diseases since monsoon rains left the southern region under several feet of water, the country's disaster authority said Thursday.

Floods drown Asia's rice bowl

Oct 06, 2011

Massive floods have ravaged vast swathes of Asia's rice bowl, threatening to further drive up food prices and adding to the burden of farmers who are among the region's poorest, experts say.

Heavy rains flood parts of Britain

Jun 21, 2007

Emergency crews struggled Wednesday after heavy rains and thunderstorms caused flooding, landslides and power outages in Britain.

Deadly flooding spreads to Pakistan's heartland

Aug 03, 2010

(AP) -- Floodwaters spread into Pakistan's heartland Tuesday, submerging dozens of villages along bloated rivers whose torrents already have killed at least 1,200 people. Fresh rains in the hardest-hit northwest threatened ...

Recommended for you

Teen vaccinations up but HPV coverage remains low overall

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—From 2012 to 2013, coverage for adolescents aged 13 to 17 years increased for all routinely recommended vaccinations. Increases ranged from 1.4 percentage points for at least one tetanus toxoid, ...

User comments