Dozens of Children Infected with Diarrhoea and Sore Eyes in Chin State
17 July 2011: At least 60 children aged up to 3 years in Kanpetlet Township have been hit by an outbreak of diarrhoea and eye infections in the remote parts of Chin State since the end of last month.
Chin children as well as some elderly are said to have been seriously infected with the ‘prevalent’ diseases in Kharyaing village, aka Kham-Jäng, about 55 miles away from Kanpetlet town.
A Chin Christian pastor, whose one-year-old son has also been suffering from diarrhoea and sore eyes for nearly a week, told Chinland Guardian that the diseases are spreading very quickly and more children as well as the elderly get infected in the village.
“The biggest problem is we have no clinics or hospitals in our village. The nearest town with a hospital is Kanpetlet but it is not accessible by car. People have to travel on foot for at least two days in summer. Now that we are in the rainy season, it is even more difficult.”
Two infected villagers are said to be in critical condition, according to the Chin pastor, who added: “The only possible way we can think of now is to buy and deliver some medicine from Kanpetlet town to our village.”
The Dai Chin pastor said another village called Cintwe, about 23 miles away from Kharyaing, has got a clinic but there is no nurse or doctor.
Talking about the situation in the areas, the pastor said: “It is not easy to get details of figures and facts due to communication difficulties. But I strongly believe that other villages are also hit by the infections.”
When asked about any NGOs (Non-governmental Organisation) working in the areas, the pastor said: “The UNDP arrived in our village, helped us build bridges and provided some money for cultivation. But I am not sure if they are aware of the current situation.”
It is claimed that the diseases must have been related to the ramifications of mautam-caused food crisis triggered by a plague of rats ravaging the areas until late last year.
“We don’t know exactly what has caused the infections. Some people said it’s because of the unusual climate change. I believe the lack of medical facilities and sanitary knowledge among the people contributes a great deal to the problems,” explained the pastor.
Chin State has been ranked the poorest state among the 14 States and Divisions in Burma, with 73 percent of the population being under the poverty line, according to the UNDP’s report last month.
Van Biak Thang