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Fear of epidemic looms over flood-hit Bihar
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna |
July 21, 2004 19:00 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2004 20:27 IST
The fear of epidemics is posing a fresh challenge to the district administrations in the flood-hit areas of north Bihar as lakhs of people have taken shelter in relief camps and on embankments or are living under the open sky.
People in the affected districts have reported cases of symptoms related to water borne diseases, heath department officials in Patna said. Eight people have died of diarrhoea in Darbhanga and two in Muzaffarpur district.
Civil surgeons of Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga districts told rediff.com on Wednesday that a large number of people are suffering from water borne diseases, including diarrhea, fever and swelling of eyes.
Officials said it is not easy to provide treatment to people suffering from water borne diseases in flooded areas. "There is a shortage of doctors as well as medicines," they said.
Another problem is that of snake bites, which has claimed over a dozen lives, including of children and women. Most of these were reported from Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Samastipur districts.
The flooding has caused snakes to come overground and many are found floating in the flood waters, which is how they come in contact with people.
The state government has directed district magistrates to distribute sachets of oral rehydration solution (ORS), bleaching powder and anti-venom drugs in flood-affected areas.
The death toll rose to over 150 though officials put it at 127 with Sitamarhi alone accounting for 49 deaths.
In the last 24 hours, there has been no letup in the flood situation as swollen rivers inundated fresh areas, including in Purnea district.
Over 20 million people in 18 districts have been affected. Over 4,000 boats have been engaged to evacuate marooned people to safer places.
The disaster management department said the flood has caused extensive damage to standing crops, public and private property worth Rs 50 crore and claimed over 2,000 cattle heads.
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