The central government has set up 3,757 medical camps in flood-battered Kerala to prevent epidemic diseases even though no outbreak, the Health Ministry said yesterday.
“While no outbreak of any communicable disease has been reported, health experts opine that once floodwaters start to recede, the environment will become conducive for epidemic diseases. The state has been asked for daily surveillance to detect early warning signs of any outbreak,” the ministry said in a statement.
Health advisories on infectious diseases, their prevention and control, safe drinking water, hygiene steps, vector control and others have been shared with the state.
“Following the state’s request, the first batch of 90 types of medicines in requested quantity will reach Kerala on Monday.”
It said that quick-response teams will also be sent to Kerala for emergency medical care.
“We are extending all support and continuously monitoring the flood situation. The Health Secretary is in touch with the state’s health functionaries and monitoring the situation daily through the disease surveillance network,” the statement quoted federal Health Minister J P Nadda as saying.
Nadda said that he had spoken to Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja and is monitoring the situation and co-ordinating with other states providing medicines to the flood-affected state.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “Our prime concern was to save lives. It appears it has been met.”
“It is perhaps one of the worst ever tragedies. Hence the loss caused is so huge. So we will accept all help,” he said, revealing the extent of a tragedy which has not hit the state since 1924.
But even as Vijayan maintained that the last stage of rescue act was going on, various WhatsApp groups continued to be flooded with requests for help, especially from Alappuzha.
Vijayan said the next task would be to help people get back to normal life.
“Rehabilitation will be done by various agencies,” he said, and pledged that all towns and cities would be cleaned on a war footing.
Vijayan paid special tributes to Kerala’s famed fishermen who played a key role in rescuing hundreds and navigating through dangerous waters.
Every fisherman who took part in the rescue act would be given Rs3,000 each, he said. “We will always be grateful for their support and help.”
Students who lost their educational materials and uniforms would get replacements.
But Shailaja admitted that although the water level had fallen in many areas, medical facilities might not have reached certain regions due to the magnitude of the crisis.
“This is because medical professionals found it difficult to reach the affected areas... We need a huge quantity of medicines. A major health drive is being planned to prevent communicable diseases,” she said.
Couple tie knot in relief camp
Even as Kerala battles the worst flooding in nearly a century, a young couple taking shelter in a relief camp in Malappuram district got married yesterday – cheered by others also sheltering with them. Anju, who had moved into the MSP School three days ago, tied the knot with Saiju at the Thiripunthra temple, watched by her relatives and others from the relief camp. “Three-fourths of our house is submerged in water. Initially we decided to postpone the marriage. But when we got the support of the people here, we decided to go ahead,” a relative of the bride said. The temple trustee agreed to provide a sumptuous wedding meal. Reports say similar marriages have taken place in Thirunavaya and Nilambur relief camps in Malappuram district. Malappuram is one of the worst hit districts.
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