Uttarakhand floods: Bodies contaminating river, warn experts

Jun 23, 2013, 04:17 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Experts fear those stranded in the Uttarakhand floods may contract waterborne diseases unless state acts fast; advice counselling for survivors

Forensic experts have warned that unless the government and the armed forces do something fast, the after effects of the Uttarakhand flood and landslides could claim many more lives in the long run. The reason? There are bodies in the rivers, which can lead to disease and contamination.

Many locals in fact, use these rivers as a source of water.

Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, Dr Shailesh Mohite, head of forensic department Nair Medical college said, “ There are many bodies scattered all over. The local administration should ensure that these bodies are removed or fished out from the rivers at the earliest to avoid infection from spreading to prevent the water from being contaminated.” Dr Vinod Agarwal, a forensic professor attached to a private medical college in Pune said, “ The local administration should immediately add large quantities of chlorine tablets in the river, to prevent spread of any contamination.” When contacted Rakesh Ranjan, Deputy Commandant, National Disaster Response Force ( NDRF), Delhi, said, “ Our priority is to rescue those who are alive and stranded.

We are aware that the river water is being contaminated because of decomposed bodies, but the local administration in Uttarakahand is supposed to handle the situation.

Our role is specific to rescuing people.”

Counselling a must for all survivors
Meanwhile, doctors say all survivors may need counselling. Consulting psychiatrist Dr Sanjay Kumavat said, “ Most of the survivors, who witnessed their loved ones being washed away or saw people dying will be going through post traumatic stress disorder.” Noted psychiatrist, Dr Harish Shetty, said, “ They should be brought together to share their woes and worries openly.”

1608 pilgrims to return to Maharashtra
Late on Saturday, 1,608 pilgrims from Maharashtra who were stranded in Uttarakhand left for Mumbai from various places they had managed to reach. Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, I A Kundan, Secretary and Director, Disaster Management Unit, Government of Maharashtra said, “ As of now, 16 people have left from Dehradun, 1,106 from Haridwar, 152 from Rishikesh and 334 from Delhi.”

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