February 5, 2005
Precautions at Outset of Tsunami Prevented Outbreaks
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia Feb 3, 2005-Precautions at the outset of the tsunami disaster in Indonesia's Aceh province prevented major outbreaks of infectious diseases, even though medical aid distribution was bedeviled by poor coordination, a World Health Organization official said Thursday.
David Nabarro, the WHO's top health crisis official, said health officials' success at combating disease had exceeded his expectations, after the U.N. body had warned of possible mosquito-and water-borne epidemics in the region, which is in the grip of the rainy season.
Although there have been cases of the diseases, "we have managed to prevent any major disease outbreak from affecting the tsunami-affected populations," Nabarro told reporters in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.
"When this started the relief effort I did not believe that we would succeed in avoiding outbreaks," he said, adding: "We must remain vigilant."...