Water recedes, but water-borne diseases rise on Mousuni island

12 diarrhoea cases reported; absence of doctors compels people to approach quacks

July 18, 2014 01:54 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:35 pm IST - KOLKATA:

A woman of Kusumtalla village on Mousuni island whose house was damaged  by rising tides. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

A woman of Kusumtalla village on Mousuni island whose house was damaged by rising tides. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

As the water from the high tides, which destroyed hundreds of houses on the Mousuni island, recedes, people are increasingly facing the threat of water-borne diseases. The seawater that submerged large parts of the sinking island has left all the fish in ponds dead and spoiled acres of agricultural lands. Locals complain of a foul smell emanating from different parts of the island.

“At least 12 cases of diarrhoea have been reported. In the absence of regular doctors the people have no option but to turn to quacks,” Sk Golam Muhammad, a member of Mousuni Gram Panchayat told The Hindu on Thursday.

With 1,500 people lodged in eight relief centres and several others in makeshift huts the situation is going to worsen, Mr. Muhammad said, adding that the State administration should take steps to ensure that medicines and other health facilities arrive here in time.

“The people are demanding that health camps be set up on the island,” he said. When The Hindu visited the sinking island on Wednesday there was anger among the people over the lack of health care facilities. The only source of drinking water is a few deep tube wells for a population of 30,000. The health workers, who were supplying medicines and ORS packets, admitted that the supply was not enough.

Dasarth Kisku, Block Medical Officer, admitted that more medical aid is required and said that a doctor and two health assistants visited the island during the day. “We will have to step up the health care facilities on the island. There is a primary health centre that has been providing them facilities over the past few days. We will make arrangements so that patients can be admitted to the health facility at night,” Mr. Kisku said.

Nearly four days after large parts of Mousuni were submerged, local MLA Bamkim Hazra visited the island on Thursday. “The situation is grim,” Mr. Hazra told The Hindu , pointing out that about seven km of embankments has been breached.

“I have taken up the matter with the State’s Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee and Minister for Sunderban Development Manturam Pakhira. The people want the embankments to be repaired,” the MLA said.

Mr. Hazra, whose constituency comprises three islands - Sagar, Ghoramara, and Mousuni - was not very hopeful that the repairs could be made in due time. The MLA said that the work for repairing the embankments may not start before the approaching new moon tide that may result in another flooding.

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