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Over 100 dead, 4,000 hit as diarrhoea strike Nepal
Kathmandu, Jul 9 (IANS):
Published on 10 Jul. 2009 12:08 AM IST
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Over 100 people have been killed and more than 4,000 affected as Nepal's ancient enemy diarrhoea struck remote districts, reports said. Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Nepal's biggest rights agency with offices in all 75 districts, Thursday said the disease, which started in Jajarkot, a neglected district in western Nepal about 325 km west of Kathmandu, has assumed epidemic proportions. It has spread to three other adjacent districts: Salyan, Dailekh and Sukhet. It said 88 people died in Jajarkot alone, the epicentre of the disease, while 10 were killed in the other three districts. epal's biggest daily Kantipur reported an outbreak in Rukum too, the mountainous district that had been one of the cradles of the Maoist revolution when it started in 1996. On Wednesday alone, eight people had been killed in Rukum, the daily said. Though the first outbreak was reported in Jajarkot in April, due to then Maoist government's preoccupation with survival, followed by protracted infighting in the coalition that succeeded, little effort was made by the state to address the problem. Contaminated water, lack of sanitation and medicines, and ignorance of hygiene fuels the disease every monsoon, creating havoc in remote areas. "Despite the provisions in the Interim Constitution of Nepal and international covenants to ensure medical facilities and care of the infected people in case of epidemics and other diseases, the government's indifference shows that it is not serious towards their health and lives," INSEC said in a statement Thursday. On Tuesday, a team of doctors and health officials led by newly appointed Health and Population Minister Umakant Chaudhary visited Jajarkot. At that time, the toll in the district was over 60. As monsoon began late in the republic, fresh outbursts are feared in the Terai plains along the Indian border as well where the population is among the poorest in Nepal. In 2007, there were 250 reported deaths due to diarrhoea while nearly 35,000 had been affected. Though the figures for 2008 are yet to be made public, it is feared that they are substantially higher. Nepal's Epidemiology and Disease Control Division puts 26 out of 75 districts in the high-risk category and 34 as medium-risk areas.

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