Little has changed at Delhi’s dengue ground zero after 19 died of the disease in 2016
Even after 19 deaths and over 100 cases of dengue in Shaheen Bagh and Abul Fazal Enclave areas in 2016, little seems have to have changed here this year. According to MCD officials, these areas, located next to the banks of Yamuna, are among the worst-hit localities in the city every year.delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2017 20:33 IST
As many as 19 dengue deaths were reported from Shaheen Bagh and Abul Fazal Enclave areas last year but little seems have to have changed on the ground in terms of preparedness to deal with the mosquito borne diseases this year.
The civic bodies counted 10 deaths and over 4,000 cases of dengue in Delhi in 2016. However, a Hindustan Times investigation showed 19 deaths in the two South Delhi localities alone.
According to municipal corporation officials, these areas, located next to the banks of Yamuna, are among the worst-hit localities in the city every year.
Although the officials claim that no case of dengue and chikungunya has been reported by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s health department in these pockets, residents claim otherwise and continue to live in fear of a dengue outbreak. They said that few cases of dengue have already been detected in their area.
Locals said that the municipal corporation has not learnt any lesson from past and has made no special arrangements for regular fogging. They said that the civic agency is still not working diligently and raises an alarm only after deaths are reported from here.
“So far, fogging has happened only twice in my lane and no one has come to check mosquito breeding inside houses. The sanitation condition is equally bad here,” said a resident on condition of anonymity.
The narrow lanes, no provision for proper storm water drains and high rise buildings in the area leave no scope for sunlight to reach the houses. These factors make such localites more conducive for breeding of mosquitoes.
CLAIMS AND COUNTERCLAIMS
In one such lane lives Abdul Qadir, who had admitted his daughter to Holy Family Hospital after she was reported diagnosed with dengue on Monday.
“We conducted all tests suggested by doctors. Though she was discharged on Tuesday, her case has not been reported by the MCD so far,” said Qadir, resident of Zakir Nagar.
Contrary to the residents’ claim, MCD health staff said that the residents don’t allow them to come inside the house.
“Half of the time we return empty handed as the people don’t let us go inside the house. Not just that, they misbehave with field workers and despite repeated warnings, they don’t take precautionary measures,” said a field worker.
Last year, the SDMC had issued legal notices to over 450 people for waterlogging in their basements.
“The buildings are not just illegal but also have 10-feet deep basements where waterlogging happens every monsoon. This year, we have identified three-four such sites and asked the owners to clean them soon. Challans will also be issued soon,” he said further.
According to area councillor Wajid Khan, though the dengue breeding checkers (DBC) are making best of efforts, paucity of number of adequate number of DBC workers is proving a handicap in covering the entire area.
“Still, we have assigned them in different areas ensuring that they cover all lanes at least once in a month. Also, we have one fogging machine and with this, it is not possible to cover all lanes,” he said.
However, Khan accepted that being an unauthorised colony the sanitation job is not done properly by the MCD staff.
Families take efforts
Taking lessons from the past, some families have been extra careful this year and made several arrangements before the onset of the peak season.
“I have installed mesh gates in my house in addition to regular gates. Also with the MCD’s help, I arranged for fogging thrice in my home. I ensure that my kids don’t go out to play in evenings as well,” said Saqib Khan, a resident of Shaheen Bagh, who lost his 14-year-old son to dengue last year.
The residents said that due the less rainfall in city, less mosquito breeding has happened so far but situation won’t be the same after few days.