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'With animal carcasses knocking at door'

india Updated: Sep 17, 2008 17:21 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Pushing animal carcasses away from around his flooded house in the Murliganj district has become a daily chore for Anil Kumar, a middleschool teacher in Rharta.

It's even become a game for his children, who are now immune to the sight of the dead animals stuck at their doorstep. "They run to their grandfather to ask him to help them shove the carcasses back into the waters," says his wife Prabhadevi, also a teacher.

This is not a problem unique to the Kumars, who chose to stay in their flooded home.

"What can we do? Where can we bury the animals anyway? In the water?" questions another resident Ghamsham.

Cows, snakes, goats and an occasional human body can often be spotted in the Murliganj block of Madhepura district.

"The state veterinary department is doing nothing to remove these carcasses. They have started to rot and the infections will follow," says Dr Shiv Kumar, medical officer, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), who says carcasses are a common sight in all the villages he and his team have visited.

Dr Kumar informed the district magistrate about the looming epidemic disaster about a week ago but he has not heard from the administration yet. "They are waiting for the water to recede but it may just be too late by then," worries Dr G.D Berma, who is with conglomerate of voluntary organizations working in the area.

Medical officers, meanwhile, pass the buck. "Murliganj is part of Madhepura district, it is not in my jurisdiction. We can do nothing about it. It is onto the state authorities to see what can be done," says Dr D.N. Bhagat, the chief medical officer at Banmankhi.

With malaria, diarrhoea, typhoid, skin infections, respiratory disorders, common cold and cough are already being reported at various camps, doctors say an epidemic is unavoidable. The numbers of people with infections has started going up already. "Each day, we get at least two to three patients with severe dysentery, up from stay cases a fortnight ago," says Dr Kumar.

"Epidemic will happen, though it may take up to a month or more for it to get pronounced. It's a big problem but neither the state nor the Centre seem to see it," says Dr Kumar.