12/31/2013, 00.00
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15 children die in Bangladesh cold snap

by Sumon Corraya
Unusual cold snap hits poorest in Northern districts: Caritas and Society of St. Vincent de ' Paul launch a collection of warm clothes to donate to the needy. Hospitals and clinics full, but temperatures continues to drop .

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - With the arrival of the first cold snap, at least 15 children have died in the northern districts of Bangladesh. The hospital director of Rongpur , Rezaul Karim , confirms the emergency: " Over the past five days we have registered more than 100 hospitalizations, all children with pneumonia." The victims are under two years of age.

Another 50 children were admitted to the Kurigram Sadar Hospital. One of the management Nazrul Islam , fears that the number could increase in the coming days : " It's too cold ." Yesterday a temperature of -11 degrees Celsius was registered in the district, while today it has risen to -9 . Unfortunately, forecasts are for a further worsening in the next week .

The cold wave , says Islam , brings with it pneumonia , asthma and other respiratory complications : "Only yesterday we admitted 141 people because of complications from the cold. And a further 800 are being cared for in the day hospital". Dr. Lokman Hakim is working to reduce the ranks of those who are waiting for admission: "We have trained 85 staff physicians to give first, in order to optimize the time ."

The Church is involved in helping to cope with the emergency. Danis Baskey , regional director of Caritas , said: " We are distributing more than 2 thousand blankets and warm clothing for the children to those who need it ." Even the Society of St. Vincent de 'Paul is on the ground : their volunteers are collecting clothes among parishioners to be distributed to the local poor.

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