Cyclone Phailin came and went, leaving behind not just a trail of destruction but also heightened fears of an outbreak of water- borne diseases in low-lying areas in the steel city and on its fringes.
Unwilling to risk a chance, East Singhbhum is oiling its health machinery, rolling out mobile medical teams and directing urban local bodies to step up surveillance in vulnerable pockets. The disaster management cell, headed by deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal, is monitoring the entire disease combat mechanism.
The concerted efforts are aimed against a host of maladies, but primarily diarrhoea and malaria, which are the direct fallout of heavy rain and waterlogging.
Nearly 9,000 people were affected in the flash floods after heavy downpour on Sunday and opening of dam gates in Chandil (Seraikela-Kharsawan) and Bankabal and Sulaipath (Odisha) on the same day inundated houses at Bagbera, Jugsalai, Shastrinagar, Marine Drive in Kadma, Mango, Baridih and Bagunnagar.
The water started receding from these areas after Monday afternoon.
Civil surgeon Jagat Bhusan Prasad said four mobile teams were addressing medical needs in Bagbera, Jugsalai, Shastrinagar, apartments dotting Marine Drive stretch in Kadma, Mango, Baridih and Bagunhatu. Operations are being co-ordinated by district Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) officer Sahir Pall.
“The teams comprise doctors and paramedics. They are doing the rounds of affected areas on ambulances stocked with medicines, antibiotics, saline and ORS solutions, as well as bleaching powder. We will also be sensitising people about the importance of washing hands,” Pall said.
The district health department, confronted with manpower crunch, has opened its doors to NGOs and private organisations willing to help in sprinkling bleaching powder and spraying larvicides.
“We are doing our bit. However, for more effective and quick response, we are roping in social organisations. NGOs can collect bleaching powder and larvicides from the civil surgeon’s office at Khasmahal Sadar Hospital or any primary and community health centre,” Prasad said.
Deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal, on his part, has asked urban local bodies to carry out cleanliness campaigns on a war footing. In many areas, tube wells have stopped functioning after the flash floods. Drinking water and sanitation officials have been asked to repair these at the earliest.