News & Information From Northeast India

Threat of diseases looms large in flood-hit Assam

Along with the ongoing havoc of devastating floods, the danger of various health related ailments now loom large on the affected people. Epidemiologist and disaster management expert Naresh Purohit, who accompanied army medical corps in rescue operations, informed this journalist that people in flood relief camps now face the danger of various health related ailments.

“The floods have rendered thousands of people vulnerable to contamination of drinking water sources. Food sources are limited, access to medicines is restricted, sanitation has been compromised and the susceptibility to infections has increased drastically,” he pointed.

“In such a situation, the occurrence of diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, fever and skin diseases caused by bacterial and fungal infection is on the rise among inmates at flood relief medical camps,” Purohit, who visited the camps in worst-hit Barpeta district, added.

He said there are already reports of people suffering from diarrhoea, dysentery, fever and severe skin infection in the relief camps. “People with a weaker immunity system are also the most vulnerable lot, and the chances for them getting infected with any forms of communicable diseases are high during heavy floods,” he added.

Purohit, who is an executive member of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), further pointed to the danger of Japanese Encephalitis, which has already claimed several lives in the state.

He said, “Amidst the flood, people in the state are also grappling with rising cases of Japanese Encephalitis, a mosquito borne viral infection. Nine districts in Assam are most vulnerable to encephalitis.

More than 160 people have died since January by this infection. “At least 27 people have died and more than 57 lakh affected in 29 districts of Assam in floods this year so far.

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