| Price of violence |
Kokrajhar/Dhubri, Aug. 9: Over 90 per cent children living in the relief camps in Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts are suffering from cold, cough and fever.
Doctors are attending to the camps daily and prescribing medicines. But with the inmates forced to sleep on the floor with nothing but a cloth or tarpaulin sheet for protection, they are vulnerable to diseases.
“Most of the children are suffering from common cold, cough and fever with a few cases of malaria also detected,” said a doctor at a relief camp in Kokrajhar. “We are giving the required medicines. But the conditions in the camps are making them vulnerable to such diseases,” he said.
A woman with two young children at Taraibari relief camp in Kokrajhar said, “Doctors are coming daily and attending to those who are ill but there is no letup in the cold and cough among the children. Even we are suffering from cold and cough.”
“Sleeping on the floor with just a piece of cloth makes the inmates catch cold and fever and children, particularly infants, are more vulnerable. We thought that cartons would be a good option instead of tarpaulin. We are collecting cartons for distributing among the inmates but don’t know if it will do any good,” said D. Narzary, a social activist.
An elderly man died at the camp on August 7.
Talking to reporters in Dhubri today, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said only one baby had died because of lack of medical treatment out of 22 deaths in relief camps. The rest died because of age-related problems and previous diseases, he added.
Sarma said the ratio of camps to doctors was almost 1:1. “There are 248 doctors against 258 camps across the four districts and we have treated over 1,34,000 patients so far.
Over 360 patients have been referred to Barpeta’s Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital and Gauhati Medical College and Hospital till yesterday.
“The government has started immunising 14,000 babies in the age group 0-2 years in camps and supplied “Mamata kits” containing soap, towel, mosquito net, body oil,” Sarma said.
There are 4,415 pregnant women in the camps and their delivery dates have been assessed and they are being attended to regularly by nurses. “They would be shifted to nearby hospitals 48 hours before their expected dates of delivery,” the minister said.
“Moreover, over 50 ambulances and 108 emergency service vehicles would be pressed into service in the riot-hits districts to provide fast transportation of patients within a couple days,” Sarma said. AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh today visited Kokrajhar and met inmates at relief camps.
The situation in the violence-affected Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts is limping back to normal with no fresh incidents reported.
The Kokrajhar district administration lifted day curfew from 6am to 6pm. Day curfew was also lifted in Chirang.