Water Sanitation Health

Questions and answers: South Asia earthquake and tsunami


WHO response

What has WHO done to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene situation?

This is the latest updated as of 7th January 2005. The World Health Organization is updating information on water, hygiene and sanitation on a regular basis. For latest updates in countries on water, sanitation and hygiene visit:

WHO's overriding concern remains of potential associated disease outbreaks throughout the region. With isolated cases of diarrhoeal disease confirmed in temporary shelter camps in India and Sri Lanka, focus must be on improving hygienic and sanitation conditions for the estimated 3-5 million displaced people. Cases of diarrhoea are reported and are under scrutiny for the possibility of cholera and typhoid. Of particular concern is that the situation throughout the region is ripe for cholera cases, a disease not unknown to the region. Lack of adequate clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, stress and psychosocial trauma and overcrowding in camps contributes to heighten the risks of disease outbreaks. Relief efforts are now well on the way, but concerted coordinated action among all health actors is required.

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