Epidemic threat looms in rain-affected areas of Tamil Nadu

Chennai, Nov 18 (IANS) As the death toll in rain-related incidents hovered around 100 in Tamil Nadu, people affected by the downpour on Wednesday expressed fears about the threat of an outbreak of an epidemic in waterlogged areas.

While residential areas have been cut off due to accumulated rainwater, heaps of garbage dumped in areas from where water has receded poses a major health risk.

In many places, drinking water has been contaminated by sewage, further increasing the risk of spread of diseases.

“It may take a couple of days for the water to drain out. This poses a major risk as malaria or dengue may break out in waterlogged areas,” Rangarajan, a resident of Kanchipuram district, told IANS.

Though the state government was silent on the official death toll, it has set up medical camps in flood-affected areas in the state.

In a statement issued here, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said a survey to assess loss of huts, cattle, boats and other assets was on and compensation would be paid quickly.

Officials said the focus was currently on rescuing people from waterlogged areas, after which accumulated water would be pumped out.

Several thousands of people have been evacuated from low-lying areas in several districts in Tamil Nadu while more than 69,000 people have been housed in relief camps in rain-affected areas.

In Kanchipuram district, over 34,000 people have been housed in 116 camps, Jayalalithaa said.

According to her, police have been asked to keep an eye on houses in waterlogged areas as residents have moved to safer places.

In Thiruvallur district, breaches in lakes were repaired on a war footing and 26,448 people housed in 117 relief camps there, the chief minister said.

In state capital Chennai, nearly 9,100 people have been lodged in relief camps.

According to Jayalalithaa, the process to restore power supply was on in areas from where flood water had been drained out.

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