Serious Health Problems From Disease to Snake Bites Stalk Survivors of Burma Cyclone

Published May 12, 2008

| FoxNews.com

Dirty water, no food and long exposure to the sun are just a few of the serious health issues survivors of the Burmese cyclone are facing.

According to a report by the Agence France-Presse, aid groups say everything from disease to snake bites is putting an estimated 1.5 million people at risk.

Experts warn that without immediate relief the death toll will keep rising.

"The three basic needs are still not being met for hundreds of thousands of people: food, clean drinking water and emergency medical goods," Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N.'s World Food Program in neighboring Thailand, said in a news release.

"Continued exposure to the sun for people who have lost their homes, for people who have lost the roofs on their houses, is critically dangerous, especially for the children and for the elderly," he said.

This all comes as the U.N. announced it has suspended aid to the region after the government began seizing the supplies. Burma was renamed Myanmar by the ruling military junta

Click here to read more about the U.N. aid suspension

"The thing we are really worried about is the kids because they're particularly susceptible to water-borne diseases," said James East, Thailand spokesman for aid group World Vision, in a news release.

"You get dysentery, typhoid and diarrhea, and people begin to lose a lot of body liquids," he said.

The majority of the annual 1.8 million deaths from water-borne diseases are children, the AFP reported.

As one aid worker put it, the scale of destruction is immense.

"People are scrambling for shelter and food. People need clean water to survive and are struggling to find it," she said in the AFP report.

"Malaria and dengue fever, which are endemic to the area, are set to increase. Deadly snake bites are a growing issue as everyone heads for safety," she said.

"Power and communications are very limited, making it very difficult to operate. Most people here are still in a state of shock. It's a daunting task."

The regime has blocked journalists and international aid workers from coming in to assess the situation, making it difficult to get a true picture after the storm, which the government says left 60,000 dead or missing, according to the report.

Click here to read more about this story from the AFP.

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