MYANMAR – Survivers of the worst natural disaster to hit Myanmar (Burma) in recorded history — Cyclone Nargis — are now facing the prospect of freshwater shortages as the dry season approaches.
According to Reuters, local wells and ponds that many of the villagers depend on for drinking water are still flooded and contaminated with saltwater.
With cleanup efforts underway, many Burmese living in the storm ravished Irrawaddy delta have relied on the rains of the wet season for their freshwater. With the rains coming to an end, and only limited stores of drinkable water available, aid agencies fear outbreaks of typhoid and diarrhea are likely.
“If we run out of water, we’ll just have to boil the pond water and drink it,” an unnamed villager told Reuters. “We haven’t made any other plans,” he said.
Operations by the British disaster agency Merlin and the United Nations Development Program have thus far proved futile, with some ponds and wells being pumped several times only to refill with saltwater.
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Source : Reuters
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org