A natural disaster that may have been preventable has a global impact
By Abby SeiffPosted 05.06.2008 at 4:01 pm 7 Comments
With a death toll steadily rising, the effects of Myanmar's devastating cyclone have yet to be quantified, but days after the storm one thing is clear: they will be long-lasting and far-reaching.
"Our biggest fear is that the aftermath could be more lethal than the storm itself," said Caryl Stern, head of the U.N. Children's Fund. Four days on, electricity and water supplies are still cut throughout the country. With broken sewage lines, mounting trash, impassable roads preventing access to clean water and food, and damaged hospitals, the nation faces a likely-devastating public health crisis. The World Health Organization has pinpointed malaria and tuberculosis—two diseases that thrive amidst overcrowding and bad water—as especial threats. Meanwhile, the spread of communicable diseases is speeded by blocked roads, which trap sick people in and keep health workers out.