Saturday, June 06, 2009


"I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. " ~Alexander Woollcott

Source : THE TIMES OF INDIA, 05-06-2009 (HEADLINES)

Diarrhoea grips Sunderbans

70% Aila Victims Suffer, Govt Sees No Crisis

Prithvijit Mitra TNN

Kolkata: Sunderbans is in the grip of the worst diarrhoea epidemic to break out in south Bengal in three decades. Nearly 70% of Aila-affected people are suffering from the disease as they have no choice but to consume contaminated water.

The sachets of water being supplied to the mangrove islands are but a trickle for thousands of thirsty villagers. And a poor distribution system has prevented it from reaching villages in the interiors. Voluntary organizations working in the cyclone-ravaged areas have come up with shocking data and warn that things could get worse.

The government, however, paints a completely different picture. It says the situation is under control and not more than 5% of the population has been affected.

Doctors, voluntary workers and paramedical staff working in the area say the disease is spreading very fast. Figures compiled by the South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE), an NGO, reveal that 67% villagers in the Sunderbans are suffering from enteric infection and diarrhoea. A further 18% are victims of snake bites, dog bites and accident injuries, 9% are suffering from skin infection and 6% from other diseases. Which means there is hardly any healthy individual on the storm-struck islands. And less than a dozen doctors to treat them.

A team of doctors from the Medical Service Centre (MSC) — a voluntary organization — confirmed the figures. It could be even worse, they fear. “There is not a single safe water source left there. Millions of gallons are being supplied, but they are either diverted elsewhere or do not reach the people at all. Medicines are sent but unless steps are taken to provide potable water, the epidemic cannot be curbed,” said Angshuman Mitra, who led the MSC team. No more than 30-35% of the victims have access to relief support system, the NGOs said. The only drinking water sources in the Sunderbans — tubewells and PHE pipelines — have got contaminated.

A Sandeshkhali resident fetches water amid the debris on Thursday

How about us all pitching in for a change, instead of playing the old blame game all over again ?

1 comment:

Sujoy Bhattacharjee said...

And when the army were doing a good job there, they were inexplicable called back!


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