VIENTIANE, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Lao health authorities have begun to provide vaccines against typhoid, cholera, tetanus and more to flood victims to prevent the possible communicable disease outbreaks in flood-affected areas in Sanamxay district of southern Laos' Attapeu province.
Some 2,979 cases of illness from dysentery, pneumonia, athlete's foot and respiratory problems have been reported, according to local daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday.
More than 100 health staff from Laos, Vietnam, China, Thailand and South Korea are now working together to provide health promotion and vaccinations at 13 points where the displaced are being housed.
Deputy Minister of Health, Phouthone Muongpak, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that there were efforts to ensure there was no communicable disease outbreak following the flooding.
"Water will be treated with chlorine," he said, "we will make sure the latrines at the relief center does not overfill."
Animal carcasses must be buried, and lime sprinkled to kill germs for disease control, he added.
The government is providing tents for victims for shelter and privacy purposes, reducing the risk of disease outbreaks from overcrowding. Mobile latrines provide the amenities to facilitate victims to make their stays at the evacuation camps more tolerable.
Dr Phouthone also urged authorities to closely coordinate under their responsibility to achieve the target plan. In particular, food preparation and cooking must be undertaken in line with hygiene standards. Clean water must be used to prepare meat, vegetables and other ingredients before cooking, said the official.
"If all work strictly follows the health guideline, it will reduce infection to the digestive system, such as dysentery, typhoid and cholera," Provincial Health Department Deputy Director Inpan Inthilath said health authorities would closely monitor people's health.
"We will diagnose symptoms and provide medicine for the illnesses at an early stage as a way to prevent against disease outbreaks," Inpan said. So far, Lao health authorities have found respiratory problems including the common cold to be the most common complaints. Temporary shelter centers have also reported evident mental health issues among some survivors, according to the report.
On July 23, a saddle dam of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric power project collapsed, unleashing five billion cubic meters of water from the mountain to 13 villages of Sanamxay district downstream the Xe Pian River, some 560 km southeast of Vientiane.
Six villages were almost submerged by the muddy flood with 13,000 villagers being affected. Till Tuesday, 11 people have been confirmed dead, 120 remain missing in the accident.