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As Flood Waters Recede, Threat of Epidemic Rises in Punjab; Four Ministers to Oversee Relief Operations

Many people are already affected by diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, fungal infection and skin disease and are being treated at various temporary camps.


Updated:August 23, 2019, 10:48 PM IST
As Flood Waters Recede, Threat of Epidemic Rises in Punjab; Four Ministers to Oversee Relief Operations
A flooded Village in Allowal, Punjab.

Chandigarh: Flood waters accumulated in several areas of Punjab, particularly in Jalandhar, Rupnagar and Ferozepur districts, began receding on Friday as the intensity of rainfall subsided, leaving behind the threat of an outbreak of an epidemic.

Army and NDRF personnel continued to move people out of the areas till flooded. But the prime concern for state health authorities is the possible outbreak of an epidemic in flood-hit areas once the water recedes, Jalandhar Medical Officer A S Duggal said.

Many people are already affected by diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, fungal infection and skin disease and are being treated at various temporary camps, Duggal said. He said cases of water-borne diseases would increase in the days to come.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh deputed four ministers to oversee relief operations in Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Rupnagar districts and directed officials to expedite the restoration of power supply.

While ministers Charanjit Singh Channi and Sunder Sham Arora have been asked to monitor the situation in Rupnagar district, their colleagues Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Bharat Bhushan Ashu will oversee relief efforts in Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts, respectively.

The chief minister, who reviewed the flood situation, asked Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and the chairman of Powercom to visit the flood-hit areas, an official statement said here.

Due to heavy rainfall and release of water from Bhakra Dam, Sutlej and its tributaries had swollen and entered villages in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Rupnagar, damaging standing crops and houses. With no heavy rains in last two days, the flood water has started receding in Punjab and Haryana, but agricultural fields and many villages remained inundated, officials said.

Out of 82 flood-affected villages in Kapurthala, 20 were inundated, according to the deputy commissioner.

A team comprising a doctor and medical staff with requisite kits have been sent to each of these villages. In addition, a veterinary doctor with staff, a food inspector, full dry ration for three days and a police constable have also been deputed in these villages. Authorities are distributing 2 kg feed per cattle per day for livestock, officials said.

The Jalandhar deputy commissioner said the water resources department has been asked to complete the work of plugging a 350-foot-wide breach in a drainage system in Meowal village in Phillaur sub-division by Saturday. He also said volunteers and MGNREGA workers were engaged in filling sand bags for plugging the breach.

Rupnagar deputy commissioner told the chief minister that relief work in affected areas were going on and the water level was receding gradually, according to the statement. Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh visited some flood-hit areas and interacted with local residents during the day.

To help flood victims, all IPS officers of the Punjab cadre have decided to contribute a day's salary to the Chief Minister's Flood Relief Fund, DGP Dinkar Gupta said. Heavy rains have caused extensive damage to crops and property in Punjab, submerging nearly 400 villages with the state government estimating the loss at Rs 1,700 crore.

People are struggling to get their dwellings rid of slush and garbage to get on with life in the flood-ravaged villages. Punjab Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra issued strict directions to ensure comprehensive measures to keep a check on the outbreak of any disease in the state. Punjab had faced its worst floods in 1988.

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