The Sichuan province of China, which is struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake, may have another battle coming up - against diseases. This is because many bodies are trapped in the debris and not buried.
There is a possibility of an outburst of plague in the area because dead bodies are quickly rotting due to high temperatures.
Many bodies are trapped in debris and heavy-lifting gear cannot get through blocked roads to the disaster areas, said Bai Licheng, a senior Communist Party official of the Aba prefecture in Sichuan Province.
Xinhua news agency quoted Licheng as saying that some bodies are put together on the ground in the town, and there is already bad smell in the air.
"We are in urgent need of body bags. There is an urgent need for food and water," he added.
He said some survivors have fetched water from a mountain spring, but it is unclear if the water is safe for drinking.
Deputy Health Minister Gao Qiang promised that the central government would do everything to prevent the outbreak of large-scale epidemic. The bodies of the dead would be handled properly as soon as possible to prevent harmful bacteria from growing.