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Floods trigger epidemic fears in Meghalaya


Tura (Meghalaya) : Health authorities in flood-ravaged Garo Hills region of Meghalaya Monday said they feared an epidemic once the floodwaters recede if precautions are not taken.

“We are apprehending that many water-borne diseases might break out in the flood-hit areas once the water-level starts receding in the next 10 to 15 days,” Malti K. Marak, the district medical chief of West Garo Hills, told IANS.

The medical department has also announced precautionary measures to check the outbreak of diseases.

The floods have affected at least 30,000 people in Selsella, Phulbari, Dadenggiri, Rangsakona and Rajabala assembly constituencies. Two people have been killed in the floods.

The flood waters also swept away livestock, foodgrain and houses, besides damaging standing crops, roads and bridges.

“A mobile medical team had already visited the flood-affected areas and distributed ORS (oral rehydration solutions) and anti-diarrhoea medicines to the affected people,” Marak said.

According to medical experts, water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and gastroenteritis can break out if proper care is not taken by the state administration.

“Post-flood is a critical period. People should boil food and water and above all should maintain cleanliness to avert any type of health hazard,” said Marshal Lamare, a medical expert.

Public Health Engineering (PHE) officials have also distributed chlorine tablets and bleaching powder to prevent any outbreak of water-borne diseases.

“We are providing safe drinking water and other essential commodities in the form of rice, dal and salt to all the people in the affected areas,” said Sanjay Goyal, the district magistrate of West Garo Hills.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma visited flood-affected areas Sunday. He repeatedly advised the affected families to drink boiled water and promised to construct hygienic bore- well for the affected families.