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Estimated 3.2 million Burmese potentially affected by cyclone
Date:5/14/2008

As many as 3.2 million Burmese are estimated to be affected by the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, according to geographic risk models developed by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Lehman College, CUNY. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the researchers calculated the likely distribution of the population of Burma (also known as Myanmar) and developed maps of the regions at greatest risk from the storms effects. The maps and a summary of the current humanitarian situation are available at www.jhsph.edu/burmacyclone.

We estimate that 20 percent of the population in the four affected administrative divisions could be affected by Cyclone Nargis, said Shannon Doocy, PhD, an assistant professor with the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, who developed the vulnerability estimates with colleagues from the Bloomberg Schools Center for Public Health and Human Rights, and from Lehman College. These are rough estimates, but our calculations could be of great help to relief agencies that are trying to provide aid on the ground.

According to the calculations, the Ayeyarwady region was hardest hit, with 1.8 million people affected; another 1.1 million were potentially affected in the Yangon administrative division. At least 100,000 people in both the Bago East and Mon divisions were also affected. The United Nations estimates that as many as 220,000 are missing following the cyclone and that 63,000 to 101,000 people were killed.

Major health threats for cyclone survivors include waterborne diseases such as typhoid, which has already been reported in some areas and potential outbreaks of dysentery from cholera and E. coli. Measles outbreaks, which are common in settings of mass displacement, are a concern for children and a possible threat. Mosquito-borne diseases, particularly malaria and dengue fever, are prevalent in Burma and are also significant health risks.

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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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