Lao ministry, WHO warn of health dangers of floodwaters

VIENTIANE, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- As water levels continue to rise in many parts of the country, the Lao Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) are urging people to avoid wading through floodwaters.

"The surface may look calm, but many dangers can lurk underneath, including strong currents, broken debris and deadly diseases," local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Lao Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong as saying. "Please don't wade through floodwater. If you have no other choice but to do so, please wear shoes and wash your feet immediately afterwards."

Continued rain in the wake of Tropical Storm Son-Tinh has resulted in flooding in 13 provinces. This is in addition to the catastrophic flash flooding which inundated villages downstream of a hydroelectric project in Attapeu province on July 23, which has left 34 people dead till Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health and WHO continue to work together with partners to respond to health needs in Attapeu and other flood-affected parts of the country, according to the report.

WHO Representative in Laos Juliet Fleisch reaffirmed the WHO's commitment to supporting the Lao people in responding to the disaster.

"WHO has been in Attapeu since the very first days of the crisis. We will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Ministry of Health and our local and international partners in bringing life-saving health services to affected communities," she said.

In addition to the provision of health services, efforts are also underway to counter an increased risk of outbreaks of water-borne, food-borne and mosquito-borne diseases.

[ Editor: Xueying ]


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