The real scale of disaster and the exact magnitude of human miseries caused by the devastating flood in Uttarakhand are yet to come to light, thanks to the misplaced priorities of the media and lack of concern on the part of government agencies, according to a medical team of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) that returned after serving the flood-affected people in that State.
During an interaction programme held at the Parishad Bhavan here on Wednesday, representatives of the 11-member team, comprising doctors, pharmacists and other support staff, shared their experiences. They said the State would take a long time to come out of the consequences of the calamity.
K. Arunkumar, a member of the team and convener of Parishad’s State-level committee for health affairs, said that the team led by two experienced doctors attended to more than 1,000 people in different rehabilitation camps. He said besides medical attention, a majority of them badly needed counselling and other psychological treatment as they were going through the trauma of losing their near and dear ones. “No medicines will suffice to lessen their sufferings,” he said.
K.G. Radhakrishnan of Thrissur Medical College, who was part of the team, said that the enormity of the disaster was far from what was reported by the media. “We came across schools that lost many of its students and teachers, besides villages that lost majority of their breadwinners,” said Dr. Radhakrishnan. “Thousands of vehicles were seen scattered in different parts of the villages, and still there is no clue about the owners,” he said.
They said villages lost roads, assets and all other means of living, and it would be impossible for them, which were mainly dependent on the pilgrimage or tourism industry, to come out of the shock of the disaster.
Observing that Kerala had many a relevant lesson to learn from the disaster, Dr. Radhakrishnan said that indiscriminate and unscientific construction still progressing in the fragile hilly regions of the State was said to be one of the major reasons for the massive scale of casualties. “The situation is not much different in several Western Ghat regions of our State,” he said.
Parishad president N.K. Sasidharan Pillai presided. The team members were felicitated at the function. Former office-bearers of the science movement A. Achyuthan, T.P. Kunhikkannan and K.T. Radhakrishnan were present.