New Delhi (Mizzima) – Cyclone Nargis victims in Labutta Township, Irrawaddy Division badly need potable water, a relief team said today that.
The villagers of 35 villages in the township are facing acute water crisis. They came to those into relief work and asked for water, a Thai based 'Emergency Assistance Team-Burma' (EAT-Burma) said.
"These villagers want emergency water supply. The villagers are having to come to town and buy bottled water. They came and told us of their plight," EAT-Burma Secretary Man Mann said.
At least 80,000 people died in the devastating cyclone in May 2008 and most of the ponds and reservoirs became unusable after being inundated by sea water. Water shortage followed as a result.
A local villager said that even the unaffected ponds and reservoirs have dried up in this hot season. The limited number of existing ponds and reservoirs cannot provide water to all of them, the villager said.
"In some villages, the ponds are too small. The villagers from other villages come and fetch water from these ponds. Some villages accept them and some don't. So they have quarrels. The river water will be more salty starting next month. Then it will be not usable for either bathing or potable water," he added.
Due to water shortage, most of the villagers have to go to town to buy water. The water sellers are selling from water carts at Kyat 300 for a 5-gallon can. The price has now risen to Kyat 500.
EAT-Burma expects that the water crisis will be more severe in the dry season from mid-February to mid-May.
Similarly a villager from Ohnbin village, Dadeey Township said that they would face water shortage before monsoon though some ponds and reservoirs still have some water.
"We are not facing water shortage right now in our area because our ponds and reservoirs are still having some water. But I think it will not last long until monsoon. These ponds will dry up soon," he said.
In Betut village, an hour’s boat ride from Labutta, the villagers are also facing water shortage though the local authorities are supplying potable water to villages in local areas with a water purifier machine.
"The supply teams are trying to provide water to us. But their supply cannot meet our demand", a local resident in Labutta said.
EAT-Burma said that the villagers in cyclone-hit areas will face outbreak of water borne diseases such as diarrhea and food shortage within two months unless this potable water shortage crisis can be handled properly.
Thus the villagers will probably migrate to town en masse, a volunteer of relief operations said.
"The water crisis in these villages is very severe. They might migrate to the town as refugees again later because the capacity of the relief operations cannot meet the huge demand irrespective of their great efforts," he said.
The devastating cyclone Nargis which lashed Rangoon and Irrawaddy Division on May 2 and 3 last year left nearly 140,000 dead or missing and many homeless.