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Uttarakhand floods: Threat of an epidemic looms large


Priyali Sur,CNN-IBN
Jun 26, 2013 at 08:35am IST

Rampur: There is a huge shortage of clean drinking water in Uttarakhand, one of the biggest problems after a natural disaster like this and there are fears of disease spreading, given what survivors have been exposed to. Hundreds of bodies also now need to be cremated at the earliest.

To get to remote villages, one has to get through roads which have been completely washed away by the recent rains. One has to cross these roads very carefully. After a 7 km walk, a CNN-IBN team reached the village of Rampur, a village cut off from roads, electricity and communication network for 11 long days.

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But the larger threat right now is the fear of a spreading epidemic. In the past three days more than 300 villagers from the villages of Rampur, Sitapur and Sonprayag have reported sick with similar symptoms.

"Many people are suffering from diarrhoea and dysentry. There are no doctors here and many people have similar complains," said Dr Hitender Negi.

But is it too early to label this as an epidemic and if yes what could have caused it? "There's no scientific analysis yet but the huge number of people suggests it's an epidemic. There has been very heavy rainfall this year and due to many bodies in the catchment area, there are unusually many flies. So there could be a direct link to the flash floods," Dr Negi added.

While the threat of an epidemic with not enough medical care reaching remote villages looms large, the partial good news is that doctors for the time being have been able to check this disease from spreading further.

The Health Ministry, however, has said that there has been no outbreak of water, food or air borne diseases, also procuring chlorine tablets. The Union Health Ministry has deputed a high-level team to review the state's public health measures.

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