Floods recede in northeast; thousands still in shelters

July 2nd, 2012 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, July 2 (IANS) Thousands of people are living in makeshift shelters in the flood-ravaged areas of western Meghalaya after over 15,000 households were submerged under flood water, officials said Monday.

The floods were receding and the overall situation was improving Monday, Pravin Bakshi, the district magistrate of West Garo Hills, told IANS.

The Jinjiram, one the major rivers in Garo Hills, caused havoc after a major embankment was breached, flooding low lying areas and also due to the back flow of water in the Brahmaputra in Assam.

“There have been no reports of fresh flooding since Sunday evening though thousands are taking shelter in makeshift camps and on raised platforms with their villages under knee-deep water,” Bakshi said.

More than 15,000 houses went under a sea of water, he said.

No loss of life has been reported so far.

The district administration has sought boats to evacuate people from the flooded region with the help of civil defence and Home Guards.

Bakshi said 15 camps had been set up to accommodate the displaced people.

Meanwhile, health authorities in the Garo Hills Monday said they feared an epidemic once the floodwaters recede if precautions are not taken.

“We are apprehending that many water-borne diseases might break out in the flood-hit areas once the water-level starts receding in the next 10 to 15 days,” Carter J. M. Sangma, the district medical chief of West Garo Hills, told IANS.

The medical department has also announced precautionary measures to check the outbreak of diseases.

According to medical experts, water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and gastroenteritis can break out if proper care is not taken by the state administration. “The post-flood period is critical. People should boil food and water and above all, should maintain cleanliness to avert any type of health hazard,” said Marshal Lamare, a medical expert.

Public Health Engineering (PHE) officials have also distributed chlorine tablets and bleaching powder to prevent any outbreak of water-borne diseases.

“We are providing safe drinking water and other essential commodities in the form of rice, dal and salt to all the people in the affected areas,” Bakshi said.

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