Govt fights to prevent epidemic

With bodies strewn all over Kedarnath and heavy rainfall halting the mass cremation, the government is taking steps to prevent any outbreak of epidemic.

Though no water, air-borne or contagious diseases have been reported so far, a high-level Central team will reach Dehradun on Wednesday to review and further tighten health measures in the hill state.

As diarrhoea cases in Haridwar (Alwalpur), Uttarkashi (Udvi) and Rudraprayag (Chandrapuri) were kept under check after picking up early warnings, officials from the district units of integrated disease surveillance programme are now conducting check ups in other flood affected districts.

While three Central public health teams were sent to Uttarakhand, on Sunday, eight additional teams have been kept on standby, ready to move at short notice.

To help victims cope with the tragedy, three teams from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, have been arranged. Two psychiatrists from the Army Medical Corps were brought to Joshimath to provide professional counselling, advice and solace to people awaiting evacuation.

The Union Health Ministry has also arranged for specialist doctors, medicines and 10 lakh chlorine tablets for disinfecting drinking water.

The Indian Red Cross Society provided 1,100 bags for carrying bodies, while the Health Ministry gave additional 500 bags. The official toll now stands close to 900, but there are still many bodies under the mud and sludge.

The Army, too, has set up an accident and emergency services medical centre at Joshimath helipad. Twenty-nine medical teams, including five reserves of varying strengths, fully equipped and self sufficient, have been mobilised and deployed along different axis around Kedarnath. Medical camps were set up at Gothi, Dharchula, Gauridham and Tijam.

The military hospital at Pithoragarh is providing emergency me
dical care to patients along the Pithoragarh–Dharchula–Tawaghat axis. Over the last four days, more than 7,000 individuals have been given essential and vital medical attention.

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