Epidemic threat looms large

After tragedy, the threat of an epidemic now looms large owing to the likelihood of contaminated waters in flood-ravaged hill state of Uttrakhand where hundreds of bodies may have  been buried under the debris or lying in the open and starting to rot. Sources said thousands of animals too have died after they were washed away in flash floods.

There are dozens of bodies that are being recovered down the Ganga stream from various parts of UP and other areas.

At least 128 people reported high temperature and gastro-intestinal infections in Ramnagar, a village near Guptkashi in the Kedarnath valley.

 Three ITBP men engaged in rescue work in Kedarnath have also reported falling sick.
The government has asked the Centre for essential provisioning and medical aid in wake of the threat.

The situation though is not alarming, at least for now.

Rescue operations, albeit inhibited by rains and bad weather, continued untiringly on Wednesday. There are still over 4000 pilgrims yet to be evacuated from Badrinath. The Army on Wednesday evacuated 800 more pilgrims stranded in Badrinath- 375 on foot- and another  500 from Harsil. So far, 97,000 people have been evacuated.

 Air Force choppers made multiple sorties in whatever window of clear weather they had at their disposal.

The spread of epidemic, if at all, could be a serious challenge for the state government, which already has a mammoth task at hand of putting in place infrastructure, roads and bridges that have been destroyed in floods.

Heavy monsoon rains and corpses lying in the open will contaminate streams and rivers. Many of the bodies are lying unceremoniously are stacked in the rubble.  There are also carcasses of livestock in rivers and streams that have been noticed and threaten to contaminate water sources.

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