Water recedes, disease outbreak looms large

IMPHAL, Jul 16: Even though water level has started receding gradually in many areas of Imphal East district as flood water started flowing out into Imphal River and Kongba River through Nandeibam Uku and Bashikhong Kachipat Uku, many people at different locations have been infected by several water borne and common diseases like flu, diarrhoea and skin diseases.
Around ten people, mostly children were reported ill with symptoms of flu and diarrhoea while minor skin diseases have infected a large number of people at Bashikhong Kachipat, where Kongba River embankment breached, and the flood situation is said to be worst.
People staying at a relief camp opened nearby complained about lack of medical aid, meagre supply of food items and potable water. They said that the sick people are being treated with medicines purchased from nearby pharmacies without consulting doctors.
They even faced extreme inconveniences in taking the sick people to hospitals as the connecting roads are no longer motorable after the embankment breached and surrounding areas flooded. So far, no medical aid from the Government agencies and even NGOs have reached there.
A boat hired at their own expense was being used there for communication inside the flooded area. Many household materials like furniture items, mattresses and other clothing items are still lying inside the flooded houses.
People here have sought medical help, food supply and water supply besides asking assistance from the Government for the damages done to their paddy fields saying that most of them are farmers live hand to mouth.
Many of the farmers are not the owners of the paddy fields they cultivate. They are doing the menial work for the owners and they have to share the produces with the owners at the time of harvest. So far, the menial farmers have incurred/invested around ten thousand per sangam. There are only 16 Government employees out of the total households of 86.
As Government aid in terms of food supply, potable water supply and other essential commodities were not properly delivered at the place, the daily requirements are being met from a lone shopkeeper’s stock and with the limited volume of potable water drawn from the adjoining Muslim locality, the residents informed.
Today, the flooded situation has considerably improved with most of the flooded houses starting to dry up, except at some locations along the stretches of Uchekon , Bashikhong, Okram Chuthek and Khongman.
People at the relief camp opened at Bashikhong Panthoibi Youth Club too complained about shortage of food supply and potable water supply. They also expressed strong apprehension about the possible outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases.
M Rajen Singh, secretary of Bashikhong Panthoibi Youth Club complained that only a total of 6.5 Kgs of rice, a small packet of edible oil, dal, salt and ngari have been distributed to each flood affected household since the occurrence of flood. Nonetheless, he showed gratitude to Minister Biswajit who is also the MLA of Thongju A/C for providing 115 number of mattresses and around 60 plastic water storage tanks.
He said, as of now, the relief camp is being managed with rice allocated under NFSA and donations from individuals.
People staying at the relief camp expressed keen desire for the authorities concerned to carry out fogging exercise in the surrounding areas of Bashikhong as they fear possible outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases in the area. Rajen also asked the Government to pump out water from the inundated areas and to take up a long term measure to prevent floods at the area.
Awful situations were also seen out at the relief camp opened by Kyamgei Khagemba Club at its community hall at Khagee Bazar under the sponsorship of Keirao A/C MLA Rameshwor.
Soibam Sanayai who took shelter at the camp spoke shockingly that her husband Soibam Lakhamon (54) has not received any medical help even when he has been seriously ill and even fainted once at the camp. A few people at the camp have also been suffering flu/fever and skin diseases.
The club’s advisor, Seram Bijen said that the local club provided medical aid from its own expense despite catering food with additional share from the club’s fund as they have received only 15 bags of rice so far and few other items. He went on to say that around Rs 40, 000 have been expended so far in running the relief camp, adding that they now find it hard to keep the camp opened further.
It is said that medical camps are being held at certain locations of the flood affected areas besides sending a mobile medical team. However, certain areas could not be reached and many people were getting ill after the medical camps were held.
Women at a relief camp at Sajou Community Hall, Khongman Zone I decried that the authorities concerned have not been paying any heed to their demand to build a temporary latrine to solve their inconveniences. They also sought potable water supply in abundant volumes and other items including food, saying that limited items have been distributed just for name sake.
One woman who identified herself as RK Joti Devi said the relief camp would not have been able to run if the intending candidates of the ensuing Panchayat election and social workers did not provide assistance.
People at other relief camps of the flood areas like Uchekon Loumanbi Mapal, Uchekon Laikon, Uchekon Chongabi and Singjamei Kshetri Leikai too highlighted similar grievances like shortage of potable water and infection by skin diseases en masse. They also sought help from the Veterinary Department saying many cattle and poultry birds have apparently fallen ill.
Notably all the ponds and other water bodies have been contaminated and polluted with stinky smell emanating from them. As such, bleaching powders and fogging are in high demand at the flood affected areas.


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