Orissa flood toll rises to 56, thousands diseased (Lead)

September 25th, 2008 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sept 25 (IANS) Thousands of people in Orissa are now suffering from water borne diseases after the floods that have devastated parts of the state, with the toll rising to 56 after eight more deaths were reported Thursday.Floods in the Mahanadi river and its tributaries following incessant rains have affected about four million people and the situation continued to be grim in some areas. More areas, including in Jagatsinghpur district, were inundated Thursday, officials said.

The four worst affected districts are Puri, Cuttack, Jagatsingpur and Kendrapada.

Large numbers of people are coming to medical camps, government and private hospitals and complaining of diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections, fever and skin ailments, a state health official told IANS.

“We have treated 17,868 patients over the past five days and 6,284 were treated Wednesday,” said Kashinath Nayak, chief district medical officer of Kendrapada.

“We have treated at least 476 people suffering from diarrhoea and 212 cases of dysentery,” Nayak said.

“We have deputed a large number of doctors who are camping in the affected areas,” state Revenue Secretary G.V. Venugopala Sarma told IANS, adding that there was no epidemic yet.

“Nobody has died of water borne disease during the floods and it has not taken any epidemic form. The cases reported are sporadic,” Sarma said.

Officials said relief operations have been stepped up and relief and rescue officials have reached all the 827 villages which were marooned.

Over 1,000 personnel, including navy and paramilitary troopers, continued relief and rescue operations Thursday in the affected areas with three Indian Air Force helicopters dropping food packets.

“The air-droppings of food, water and medicines will continue for the next three days,” a government official said.

Many victims said they have not received any relief, while some said they have received inadequate relief. According to a preliminary estimate by the state government, the losses from the floods would be over Rs.24 billion.

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