Health department authorities are creating awareness among people to remove stagnant water due to broken pipes and excess rainwater.

Cyclone Gaja TN health department to set up medical camps across stateFile Image
news Cyclone Gaja Monday, November 19, 2018 - 15:30

As Tamil Nadu is beginning to recuperate from the recent devastation brought about by Cyclone Gaja, the health department is preparing to tackle any health issues that may ensue. While no major health problems have been reported yet, save for those presenting with injuries sustained while clearing the debris, the department officials are on alert should any diseases crop up.

“Though there are no diseases currently, we are anticipating some issues and are preparing to tackle them,” said Dr K Kolandaswamy, Director of the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department (DPH). “We will set up medical camps throughout the state as part of the relief efforts and will focus on setting up certain preventive measures to ensure that the health of the public isn’t largely affected following the recent impact of the cyclone.”

According to the DPH, there are largely three major areas of concern, pertaining to health at this junction.

The state, which was already seeing a number of cases of dengue prior to the cyclone, may also be susceptible to a sudden influx of dengue following the same. “There may be broken pipes and drainages, and excess rainwater may become stagnant in certain areas, which may lead to the breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and cause dengue. This is something that is of vital concern to us. We are working to set up medical camps soon and are informing people on the frontlines of the relief work to create awareness among people to remove stagnant water,” said Kolandaswamy.

Following the cyclone, several people have been left without a reliable source of clean drinking water, which may lead to waterborne diseases as well as acute diarrheal diseases. The health department is preparing to address this concern.

“After such a calamity, we generally see several people, especially young children, presenting with diarrheal diseases because of lack of clean water. While we must work to ensure that they are provided with clean drinking water at the earliest, we are also working towards spreading awareness about the diseases, which may be contracted from drinking unsafe water. We are encouraging people to drink boiled water,” he added.

Furthermore, the cyclone has uprooted several trees, leaving behind a lot of debris on the road, in addition to the excess garbage strewn around. This has caused concerns among officials about vector-borne diseases such as those spread by flies, which may linger around areas with excess trash. Although health department authorities are actively engaged in the clean-up work, which will help reduce the onset of such diseases, they still remain on alert and will fumigate affected areas with an insecticide if necessary.

The impact of Cyclone Gaja has resulted in extensive damage to property throughout the state. Even as relief work is being taken up, certain parts of the state are in extreme unrest as people claim that the government remains apathetic. On Sunday, several villagers in Thanjavur district protested outside the residence of Peravurani MLA M Govindarajan demanding clean drinking water supply.

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