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Flood-hit Kashmir braces for epidemic
September 15, 2014, 6:02 am

 

A woman mourns over the death of a local resident in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian state Jammu and Kashmir, Sept. 13, 2014 [Xinhua]

A woman mourns over the death of a local resident in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian state Jammu and Kashmir, Sept. 13, 2014 [Xinhua]

Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is bracing for an epidemic in the aftermath of devastating floods that killed over 200 people and stranded about 150,000.

“All-out efforts to check the spread of disease, especially water-borne diseases, will have to be at the top of our list of priorities,” said Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The state administration is preparing to set up pumps to drain out flood waters and to remove animal carcasses to prevent the possibility of disease.

Indian media reports have said dead birds and animals floating from poultry and diary farms have heightened fears of an outbreak of water-borne diseases after nearly two weeks of incessant rains.

The capital Srinagar and villages in southern parts of the state are still submerged in flood waters, the worst in over a hundred years to have hit the troubled Himalayan region.

“I can’t remember a single natural disaster in the country where the government tasked with responding was so completely paralysed. We had no way to communicate with anyone…we were totally and completely isolated from everyone and everywhere,” the Chief Minister wrote in an Indian daily on Sunday.

The central government has proposed to speed up the delivery of medical facilities to affected areas, deploying more doctors and increasing the supply of chlorine tablets and vaccines for vulnerable children.

Many official building including the state Secretariat, the state Assembly, the High Court, police and fire control rooms, Municipality headquarters, Central Telegraph Office, Radio Kashmir and television studios are inaccessible and inundated with flood waters.

Kashmir was split between India and Pakistan in 1947, when India attained freedom from British colonial rule.

Tens of thousands have died in Kashmir as Indian army, paramilitaries and police have battled local and foreign separatists since 1989.

 

TBP

 

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