Mangaluru: Doctor fights flood and helps save lives

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Mangaluru: Dr Edmond Fernandes who is with the Dept of Community Medicine, Yenepoya University has returned to Mangalore after his work providing medical relief for the victims of the Chennai floods which has been declared as severe by the Government of India.

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Dr Edmond Fernandes provided medical relief service for Help Age India which has been working on the ground tirelessly ever since the floods occurred. Mobile medical units of Help Age from different locations were put to work for this massive effort because considerable negative impact on health of the population existed. Dr Edmond worked with the Madurai Unit of Help Age India in urban slums badly affected by floods like Jutkapuram, Saidapet, St Thomas Mount, Saligrama. In some areas the water had not receded even after 2 days of post rains.

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On an average there were more than 300 patients who sought medical relief and treatment every-day which was an extremely difficult duty to match by any standards. Most of the Chennai flood associated adverse health effects were Upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea, ringworm infection, psychological trauma and at many areas exacerbation of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension due to lack of access to healthcare and medications and loss of existing stocks of medicines.

Chennai deluge disrupted critical infrastructure including households, public transports, healthcare, utilities, telephone lines, wifi connections, electricity in most parts of the region. The post flood condition led to reasonable loss of valuables running into crores which will take years to recover. The degree of population displacement remains unknown and by far large. In many areas hygiene, power, sanitation facilities need to be restored that have gone bonkers.

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At the 2nd World Congress on Disaster Management hosted by Government of Andhra Pradesh, Dr Edmond Fernandes had recommended for a Basic Law of National Resilience which should be made an Act of Parliament, this draws inspiration from the law passed by the Abe Administration in Japan in 2013 for building Disaster Resilience. Floods is common to Indian settings, 2013 Uttarakhand, 2014 Jammu Kashmir, 2015 Chennai to name a few, yet India is yet to evolve its practices for Disaster Risk Reducation and Disaster Mainstreaming as impressed upon by the Sendai Report of 2014.

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