Published:  02:03 AM, 15 July 2017

Threat of water-borne diseases in flood-hit areas

The water of the major rivers in the northern and central regions of the country is flowing above the danger level and the overall flood situation, that has started almost a month ago, is yet to see any significant improvement. Many flood-hit people, who have been displaced from their homes and have taken shelter on river embankments or high roads, are living in indescribable misery. It is our fear that post-flood diseases might take endemic form unless the situation improves soon and the government relief operations and medical campaigns are geared up immediately. Necessary preparatory measures are need to taken as well to rehabilitate the victims after the flood water recedes.

We always see that outbreak of water-borne diseases is a very common consequence of every major flood in our country. Given that there remains an acute scarcity of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in the flood-affected areas, the risk of spreading waterborne diseases, like cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and skin diseases, always remains there.

However, a little awareness among the affected people and vigorous relief operations and medical supports from the government and non-government voluntary organizations can effectively check such outbreak. But owing to insouciance of government and non-government organizations, who are supposed to take measures in this regard, we have to see the unfortunate consequence happen again and again. We are observing to our concern that water-borne diseases like diarrhea and skin-related infections are reported to have already started spreading in some areas but regrettably the response from the local administrations appears not sufficient.

We hope authorities concerned will act promptly in mapping flooded areas in order to provide necessary safe drinking water or water purification tablets and make necessary sanitation arrangements in the shelter centers so that situation does not take severe turn this time. It is known that hundreds of thousands of flood-victims will require access to essential drugs and survival food kits, which the authorities must have adequate preparations for. Apart from the government, the flood-hit people also need to be aware.

They must refrain from using contaminated water for their own safety and health. We strongly believe if both state and non-state actors work sincerely and the people become aware, the post-flood health hazards can be contained successfully.

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