Parched Bundelkhand lives on muddy water

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 26, 2016 17:00 IST
People collect murky water from a nearly-dry riverbed in Harda district. (HT photo)

At least 600 people have fallen sick over two weeks after consuming contaminated water from depleting water sources across 46 drought-hit districts of Madhya Pradesh, according to unofficial reports.

For last many years madhya Pradesh has been receiving below average rainfall. Water bodies have either run dry or left with very little water.

Over 100 fell ill in Morena

Bundelkhand region is one of the worst hit areas, where one villager Jagdish said that people were consuming whatever water was available in muddy wells and ponds as all the hand pumps have gone dry. Over 100 people fell sick recently after drinking such water from a well at Parvatpura area in Morena, which is about 55 kilometres from the district headquarters. Continued heatwave conditions have further aggravated the situation as heat promotes microbial growth in unsafe water which leads to diarrohea, gastroenteritis, jaundice, even fatally affect kidney and lungs, health experts said.

In Bundelkhand’s Bambhori Hudda village, around sixty villagers were taken ill with severe loose motions and vomiting on Saturday. A team of health department under Dharmendra Shrivastava was rushed to the area, which found that the main reason behind the sickness had been drinking unsafe water from muddy bore wells.

Sagar civil surgeon IS Thakur said that district hospitals were getting at least 1500 OPD patients every day. Out of them, 70% report diarrohea and gastroenteritis. “This is primarily because of consuming infected food and water. Rural population is more affected as water shortage is acute in these areas,” he said. Rajesh Kathal, joint director, health department (Sagar division), said instructions had been given to health officials to regularly monitor the situation and take effective measures.

The situation in other districts of Bundelkhand like Damoh, Tikamgarh, Chhattarpur and Panna is similar. Kudila village in Tikamgarh has only three out of 17 hand pumps functional which cater to 4,500 residents. In Damoh, villages under Madiadoh block and Tedukheda block are worst affected. In Chhattarpur district, Bijawar and Gaurihar tehsil are badly affected. In Panna district, of 339 government village water supply schemes, only 179 are functional.

Tribals drinking ponds water and even from dried up riverbeds in Harda

In Harda district, tribals are drinking ponds water and even from dried up riverbeds. Over a dozen people had fallen ill recently in Borpani Temru village of the district.

In Seoni, where seven people have died and over hundred fallen sick due to diarrhoea outbreak under intense heat, teams of health department are now deployed in 38 villages of tribal dominated Ghansaur block to provide medical aid to the affected villagers and apprise villagers about the precautions they need to take while outdoors and how to filter water. The teams are also distributing chlorine tablets among the villagers.

Seoni district collector S Dhanraju said that the situation was being handled on a war-footing and special arrangements had been made to collect water samples for test to plan follow-up remedial steps.

The situation is no different in Gwalior and Chambal region. Recently, scores of people in Veerpur area of Gwalior complained of diarrhoea and vomiting. The Gwalior Municipal Corporation and health department detected that tube well water was contaminated.Sunil Agrawal of integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) incharge said they were constantly monitoring the situation with the help of 54 centres in the district. Although health officials maintained that the situation was well under control, the OPD at JA Hopsital has registered rise in number of daily patients from 1000-1200 to 1500 to 1800. Earth scientist SN Mohapatra attributed the drought-led health crisis to doing away with natural drains and old water bodies.

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