AT least two young children have died of malnutrition in Tanna as the El Nino drought worsens in Vanuatu. One child less than a year old from Lautapunga village in White Sands after the family was unable to provide milk or food for it. In August, another child died at Imampen village in a remote northern part of Tanna, where trucks rarely visit.
Doctor Jacob Kool from the World Health Organisation’s office in Vanuatu said the girl died from severe diarrhoea which may have been caused by contaminated water or inedible food.
“There is a severe food shortage on the island,” he said. “People have been eating unusual food crops which they don’t normally eat. Some people say diarrhoea is
caused by that.
“There is also drought at the moment and, as a result, people are drinking unsafe water as well, so it could just as well have been the drinking of unsafe water that caused intestinal infection.”
At the beginning of October Dr Kool said he had been aware of three other children suffering severe diarrhoea.
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