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Cholera, diarrhoea claim 93 lives

The districts of Rayagada, Koraput and Kalahandi have been affected by the post-monsoon waterborne diseases.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2007 18:35 IST

The waterborne diarrhoea and cholera continued to play havoc in three Orissa districts as the death toll crossed 93 on Tuesday with hundreds of patients thronging government hospitals.

The districts of Rayagada, Koraput and Kalahandi had been affected by the post-monsoon waterborne diseases one and a half months ago but the situation assumed an alarming proportion in the past two weeks.

"We have received so far information of about 93 deaths," a senior official at the state health control room at Orissa capital Bhubaneswar told IANS. "However, reports are still reaching here and we fear there may be a few more deaths," he added.

"Of the 93 deaths, 49 are in Rayagada, 34 in Koraput and six in Kalahandi district," he said.

All deaths in Rayagada district have been reported from 26 villages under Kashipur block.

More than a dozen villages in five blocks have been affected in Koraput. They are Dasmantpur, Laxmipur, Nandapur, Kundura and sadar, he said. Twenty people have died in Dasmantpur block in this district, he said.

In Kalahandi the worst hit is Thuamul Rampur, he said. The situation has improved and is now under control as only some sporadic cases were reported in the affected areas on Monday and Tuesday, he said.

"At least 10 patients were admitted at the Kashipur government hospital on Tuesday," a district health official told IANS over phone.

Over a dozen patients thronged hospitals in Koraput as well as in Kalahandi, according to health control room officials of the districts.

However, many people in the affected areas said the numbers of deaths and of patients were much more than the government figure.

"The government is not disclosing the real number of people died and affected," Taraprasad Bahinipati, congress Legislator from Koraput, said.

While local newspapers Tuesday reported that the toll in the three districts was more than 300, Bahinipati said that more than 100 people had died in his area alone.

Officials and ministers have rushed to the affected region.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday visited some of the worst hit areas and took stock of the situation.

He visited Talajhari, a village in Kashipur block in Rayagada district, where most of the residents are suffering from cholera and diarrhoea.

Twelve people have died in this village over the past month. The latest victim was two-year-old Srikant Naik who died Sunday.

JB Patnaik, opposition leader in the state assembly and former Congress chief minister, Tuesday visited the Rayagada district along with a team of doctors.

A central team of experts also arrived in the state capital and was reviewing the situation along with top health department officials.

Cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks are not new in the three districts, which have been visited by the waterborne diseases almost every monsoon as rainwater slush from hilltops contaminates water sources.

Kalahandi, Koraput and Rayagada districts come under the undivided KBK (Kalahandi, Koraput and Bolangir) region which are among the most underdeveloped parts of the country and often in news for starvation deaths and distress child sales.

Job opportunities in the region are limited with the major economic activity, agriculture, not generating enough income.

First Published: Aug 28, 2007 18:28 IST