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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tsunami Survivors at Risk of Disease

GIZO, Solomon Islands -- Tsunami survivors and aid workers in the Solomon Islands complained Thursday that relief efforts were chaotic and slow as the disaster's scale became more clear, and the UN warned that thousands faced the threat of dangerous diseases.

Reports of diarrhea were becoming more widespread, and officials were worried about possible malaria and cholera outbreaks because of unsanitary conditions in makeshift high-ground camps, where thousands fled Monday's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami and were refusing to come down.

The United Nations put the death toll from Monday's disaster in the western Solomon Islands as at least 34 -- higher than the Solomons' official tally of 28, though government officials say they expect more deaths to be confirmed. The UN said it estimated 50,000 people were affected by the disaster -- 30,000 of them children who were "highly vulnerable" to diseases including malaria, which is endemic in the region.

The government says 5,600 were left homeless. There has been no official tally of the missing.

Government officials conceded that the aid effort was going more slowly than they wanted, but blamed the remoteness of the affected region and a shortage of supplies.

Survivors picking through the rubble of shattered villages looking for food and supplies found more bodies on Thursday, and grew increasingly frustrated that they were being left to fend for themselves.

Military transport planes from New Zealand and Australia have flown in aid packages of tarps, water and food rations, and a boat has brought a shipment from Honiara, the capital.