People in the disaster affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir are reeling under severe health problems and economic difficulties. They require long-term planning for a comprehensive health care, economic uplift through massive aid by the central government. This was the impression gathered by the medical relief team which left Ludhiana on September 27 and returned on October 3.
The team which had split in two groups to work in flood-affected areas, found the cities stinking, distribution of relief material was too slow, major hospitals were still under water and much more. Nearly 10,000 patients have been examined.
Particularly women and children were found to be anaemic and poorly nourished. The infectious diseases particularly abdominal, skin, allergic reactions, joint pains were in very high number as a result of staying in water for long time. People were suffering from anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, said Dr A K Handa. The doctor added, that the team was shocked to see the two major hospitals, the GMCH and JVC Medical College and Hospital still under water. Most of the small hospitals and clinics had been severely damaged. Almost all the equipment in these hospitals had been completely destroyed. Dr Arun Mitra, General secretary, IDPD and Former President IMA Ludhiana, who led the team said that they found filth and silt all around the city. The whole city was stinking. Many areas around the Jhelum river were still submerged under water.
Most of the commercial establishments were damaged. Many people lost their houses as well as shops. The cleaning effort was found to be at a very low pace. This can pose a serious health problems from time to come.
There is need for a continuity of work on the health care and economic uplift of the people. There is need for proper planning to preserve ecology by preventing deforestation and adopting development strategy keeping the environment into consideration to avoid any such disaster in future, said Dr Manoj Sobti, former President IMA Punjab.
Major Sher Singh Aulakh (retd) from Bharti Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha said that they appeal to the government to clear the city of garbage on war footings; immediately give sufficient aid to restore working of the medical institutions; to announce economic measures such as interest free loans for building houses and commercial establishments. Give aid to the economically lower strata.
The mission was a joint effort by Indian doctors for peace and development, Indian Medical Association, Ludhina, Rotary club Ludhiana greater, wholesale chemists Association, Ludhiana District Chemist Association, All India Bank Officers Association and All India Youth Federation.