Fear of epidemic outbreak in waterlogged Patna

Patna (IANS) After floods, residents of Patna now fear for outbreak of epidemic with stagnant rainwater emitting stench and animal carcasses floating around. It has simply added to their woes of staying indoors for around a week, surrounded by 4-6 feet deep stinking water.

There seems no end to their miseries. They for outbreak of diseases, like dengue, viral fever, jaundice, skin ailments, allergy and breathing problems.

“We are living in a hell-like situation since Saturday. It’s a perfect setting for waterborne and communicable diseases with most areas still waterlogged and carcasses of animals, like dogs, pigs and cows, floating in stinking water,” said Ashok Kumar Singh, a retired government officer and resident of Rajendar Nagar, one of the worst waterlogged localities in the heart of Patna, to IANS over telephone.

“We are surviving due to help from youths engaged in relief and rescue activities on their own in this man-made disaster-like situation,” Singh said.

Singh said he had been living here since early 70s, but it was the first time when water didn’t recede even five days after rainfall.

“The water level is still dangerous outside my house. Me and my wife are senior citizens and our children are abroad. We can’t leave the house due to chances of theft. It’s a pathetic situation for many like us,” he said.

Though there has been no rain since Sunday night, thousands in the worst waterlogged localities, like Kankarbagh, Rajendra Nagar, Patliputra Colony, Rajeev Nagar, Bazar Samiti and Bahadurpur, are struggling for essential items, like food, drinking water, candles and milk.

In some waterlogged areas, there is no electricity and mobile phones have gone dead.

“We are in living hell with stagnant water around our houses. Entire neighborhood is waterlogged. We are now apprehensive of different diseases,” Suresh Prasad Mishra, a businessman, and resident of Kankarbagh, where water has receded from some localities, told IANS.

The government agencies should immediately start taking precautionary measures where water had receded, he said and added, “Hope the government will act to prevent outbreak of diseases in the waterlogged localities.”

However, Patna District Magistrate Kumar Ravi said around 75 teams had been deployed to sprinkle bleaching powder, clean roads and narrow streets after the water receded and to remove the animal carcass.

He admitted to the danger of epidemics due to filth, dumped garbage and stinking water.

A top health department officer said steps to prevent outbreak of diseases were being taken and teams of doctors would soon start visiting affected areas to provide medical aid.

Satyam Kumar Jha, an activist working to help people in waterlogged areas, said the stagnant water was emitting soul smell due to floating garbage and bodies of animals. “We are doing our best with limited resources to sprinkle bleaching powder and creating awareness on how to live in waterlogged areas”, Jha said.

So far, no case of water-borne or communicable disease has been officially reported from any area. Waterlogging continues in various localities and government agencies have been trying to pump out the water.

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