Tue 4 May 2010
Filed under: Health / AIDS
Chiang Mai – After more than two years since Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, the lack of drinking water continues to affect more than 180,000 residents of the Irrawaddy Delta region, according to the United Nation’s office in Rangoon.
Victims were from Labutta, Bogalay, and Mawlamyine Kyun Townships, the UN office’s spokesman, Aye Win, told Mizzima. He added that water scarcity was exacerbated by the dry season and that residents lacked an effective way to get water.
However, the figure was about half the number of those affected in the three townships last year, he said. From March to May about 350,000 people had difficulty accessing clean drinking water.
Although the region received US$6.48 million for drinking water, health-care systems and personal hygiene, US$16.16 million was still required, the UN office said.
Although the 3,800 lakes in the delta damaged by Nargis have been repaired and maintained, there were still difficulties obtaining fresh water, Aye Win said.
Lakes in Phoe Thu Chaung village (Amar Township, Phyarpone District), those that stored rainwater, had started to dry and the village would run out of drinking water in three days, a villager told Mizzima.
“There are three lakes in our village. Among them only one has water. All the people from nearby villages depend on it for water, so it’s fast to empty. Currently, the water level is just two feet (61 centimetres) so we can’t depend on it anymore. The drinking water that we stored in pots will be enough for just three days”, the villager said.
According to recent research, 180,000 people need drinking water and 100,000 people need homes, the UN reported. Although estimates for the region’s Nargis relief needs for 2009-11 reached US$691 million, it has received US$180 million.
Cyclone Nargis, which hit the Irrawaddy Delta at winds of more than 100 miles per hour (160km/h) during May 2 and May 3, 2008, killed at least 140,000 people and displaced 2.4 million people.