Enteric diseases kill eight in Bengal’s Aila-hit areas (Lead)

June 9th, 2009 - 12:30 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 8 (IANS) Eight people had died and over 5,000 were afflicted with enteric diseases in two cyclone Aila-hit districts of West Bengal, a senior minister said Monday.
“Eight persons have died due to enteric diseases in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts. Over 5,000 are indisposed,” Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta told reporters here.

Dasgutpa, however, said the situation was under control.

“Medical teams have been sent in the affected areas. Medicines have also been rushed. Steps are being taken to prevent any spread of the disease.”

Earlier, South 24 Parganas zilla parishad (district council) chief Shamima Bibi told IANS that five people had died of enteric diseases in Satjelia gram panchyat of Gosaba block, which was heavily damaged in the May 25 cyclone.

She said enteric diseases were spreading in all the affected blocks including Basanti, Patharpratima, Kultali and Mathurapur.

There is also a fear of a malaria outbreak as the areas have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“The water has become contaminated. Bleaching powder is also not being sprayed properly. We need pure drinking water, but the government has not been able to supply it,” Shamima said.

She also alleged that several block development officers were lax in organising relief and taking sanitation measures.

Volunteers involved in the relief operations in the Sundarbans had expressed fears of an epidemic once the floodwaters recede from the mangrove forests that cover the region.

So far, 142 people have died while nearly 600,000 houses have been damaged in the calamity, which has affected over 8.7 million people. Forty-nine people perished in South 24 Parganas alone.

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