Bengal braces for three-pronged assault of Covid, flood and dengue
Amid a MeT office warning of heavy rain, Bengal North 24 Parganas district is also battling a surge in Covid-19 cases.Updated: Aug 25, 2020, 10:50 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the state needs to plan to face a three-pronged assault of Covid-19, flood and vector-borne diseases such as dengue in the coming days.
While the India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rain in the districts of south Bengal, some districts have seen a surge in Covid-19 cases with very high positivity rate and mounting casualties. Cases of vector borne diseases have also been reported from several districts.
“There is a warning of heavy rains. Some places have already got inundated and rivers are flowing above the danger level. We must plan for the flood keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation,” Baneerjee said at an administrative review with officials of four districts in south Bengal on Monday.
While North 24 Parganas, the second most populous district in India after Thane in Maharashtra, has registered a high positivity rate of 20.6% which is double the national average, the death rate in North 24 Parganas and Howrah is 2.7% and 2.2% respectively compared to the national average of less than 2%.
Dengue is another major worry and every year many cases are reported from densely populated areas of North 24 Parganas. This year such incidents have been low so far.
The two coastal districts of North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas have already been affected by heavy rains. There have been breaches in river embankments and water has gushed into the villages inundating some villages. There are fears that Howrah and Hooghly will get affected when the Damodar Valley Corporation releases water.
“Even if there is heavy rain in Jharkhand and the Damodar Valley Corporation releases water, large areas in Howrah and Hooghly may get inundated. In some areas water may also enter hospitals,” Banerjee said, asking district officials to plan accordingly keeping in mind the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Some districts in north Bengal including Malda, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar have also been asked to stay on alert as they may be affected due to heavy rain in Bihar and Nepal.
“The districts have been asked to set up 24X7 control rooms to monitor the flood situation during the Covid pandemic. The control rooms would be set up in the offices of district magistrate and superintendents of police,” said a senior official who was present in the meeting.