Health Alert Sounded in Flood-hit Assam

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 5 2007 12:14 PM

A health alert was sounded in Assam Saturday to prevent outbreak of waterborne diseases with floodwaters receding and people beginning to return to their homes.

"Teams of doctors and paramedics are on full alert and visiting flood-hit areas, although there are no reports of any outbreak of diseases," Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.

"We want to ensure that people do not suffer from post-flood ailments," the chief minister told IANS.

The Brahmaputra River and its major tributaries have started receding with no rains since Saturday.

"The situation has improved considerably and people are gradually going back to their homes, although in some areas they are still in makeshift shelters," Gogoi said.

Two-weeks of flooding had displaced an estimated 5.5 million people in 26 of Assam's 27 districts, besides killing 24 people. Nine more people were killed in a massive landslide in adjoining Meghalaya state last week. "A total land area of 870,000 hectares has been affected by the floods, besides breaches in 53 embankments," Gogoi said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil are visiting Assam Tuesday to assess the damage caused by the floods.

Authorities had earlier set up close to 3,500 temporary shelters for the displaced people, besides providing them with food and other essentials.

"We are still providing relief materials and shall continue to do so for a few more days," the chief minister said.