Four fall prey to snakes at flood-relief camps, 1 dies

Despite reptile bites, electricity hasn't been restored

People at city’s flood-relief camps now have another problem added to their list of woes – snakes. During the past week, there have been four cases of snake-bite, one of them fatal.

The camps house hundreds of people who chose to not to return to their homes after floods hit low-lying areas along the Yamuna river in June this year. Now, with fresh scare of floods after Haryana released 1.08 lakh cusec of water from the Hathnikund Barrage into the Yamuna, authorities are urging people to return to the camps.

After most people vacated the tents in the last week of June and early July, authorities have turned a blind eye to the condition of those who have stayed back in the tents along the Nursery Pushta to DND Link Road stretch.

Food and electricity supply have been cut off for the people for last 15 and eight days respectively. The mobile toilets have been removed and even the drinking water and medicine supply have become very irregular.

While the people are trying to cope up with the lack of essentials, they allege lack of lights has exposed them to the threats from snakes. The generator supply to the camps was cut off around eight days ago. Coincidentally, all the incidents of snake-bite were reported to have happened at night.

Authorities claimed they have been quick to transport snake-bite victims to hospitals and that 20-year-old Ranju Devi succumbed because her family chose to take her to a hospital of their own choice and by their own transport instead of informing the authorities.

“Ranju’s family chose not to take our help. Relatives of even another person who was bitten last night did not accept our help. They treated them with their own desi medicines. Two others who were bitten earlier were transported in the CATS ambulance and they are recovering at Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital,” said Jamshed Khan, in-charge of flood relief campaign.

But the deceased’s family claimed that the incident had happened during the wee hours of the morning and they did not know whom to approach and hence chose to go to Lok Nayak Hospital.

“Despite many incidents of snake-bite, lights have not been provided to us. It has become very common for us to find snakes in our tents. All we have done is clean the back side of our tents to keep the snakes away, yet they keep coming,” said Pinki Kumari, a relative of the deceased, adding that they use stones to chase away the reptiles on sighting them.

With even the mobile toilets removed, the residents have no option but to go to the field for answering the call of nature, thus exposing them to the danger of snake-bites. But officers said the toilets were removed because the people never used them. The complainants in turn allege that water was not provided in the toilets.

The lack of basic amenities has made people reluctant to return to the camps as of now. But when they do return with the increase in rains, the authorities will have a few serious tasks at hand.

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