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Delhi violence: Rashes to UTIs, illnesses take a toll at relief camps

The camp is also home to many pregnant women, with some of them giving birth since. “For two women, contractions began at the camp and we took them to the hospital for delivery,” said Anthony.

Written by Ananya Tiwari | New Delhi | March 10, 2020 2:15:37 am
The relief camp at the Mustafabad Eidgah. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Skin allergies, urinary tract infections (UTI), breathing problems, and lack of sleep due to stress — these are some of the ailments that have afflicted Northeast Delhi residents currently seeking refuge at the Mustafabad Eidgah following riots in the district.

At the Eidgah relief camp, set up by the Delhi Waqf Board and where over 1,000 families are staying, two medical camps have been opened by Holy Family Hospital and other doctors to provide aid and medicines for residents. At a Delhi government relief camp in Shastri Park, riot victims said ambulances provide them medical aid.

Skin allergies in the form of rashes from wearing the same clothes for too long was a common problem reported at the Eidgah camp among young children. Shama Parveen (30), mother of a one-and-a-half year old boy named Taimur, said, “He has only one pair of clothes and has developed slight rashes on his body.”

Anshu Anthony, an organiser of the Holy Family Hospital camp, said: “Because of lack of cleanliness and from staying in a common place for long, toddlers are developing skin rashes. We are giving them new clothes and Dettol.” With many women also complaining of UTIs, doctors collected their blood and urine samples and sent them for testing.

Soap and Dettol solution are being distributed as preventive measures against coronavirus, said Dr Imran Khan, who is volunteering at the Eidgah. All volunteers are wearing surgical or N95 masks.

Those suffering from mental health issues are being counselled by nurses and volunteers. “Stress and shock, along with a great degree of fear, is leading to sleeping disorders in many people… some have not been able to sleep for four-five days. We have given them sleeping pills,” said Dr Khan.

The camp is also home to many pregnant women, with some of them giving birth since. “For two women, contractions began at the camp and we took them to the hospital for delivery,” said Anthony.

Aasima (26), who is nine months pregnant, has been staying at the camp with her husband and two young girls since February 24. “I don’t have any pain and doctors are regularly checking my condition,” she said, adding that she does not want to go back to her home in Shiv Vihar just yet as she is afraid.

Anthony said infants not more than three months old had to be sent to the hospital as they developed jaundice: “One child was 22 days old, the other 18 days old.”

Diabetic issues and difficulty in breathing were ailments seen in the older women. Others were also provided medication for high blood pressure. Ruksaana (55), who is at the Shastri Park camp, said, “Because the diet is mostly rice, my sugar levels have risen. They gave me pills.”

Noor Jahan (48) developed breathing difficulties and chest pain, and was given glucose. “This has not happened before. For the past few days, I’ve been having difficulty in breathing, and chest and back pain,” she said.

With two adult working daughters and two school-going children, Jahan did not want to go back home to Shiv Vihar: “The house was looted, not burned down. But I’ve been living there for 30 years and everything has been fine. It is just not the same anymore.”

A civil defence volunteer at Shastri Park relief camp, which had around 40 people during the day, said, “The camp fills up at night. People go back home during daytime, trying to build a routine. But they come back at night as they’re still in fear. But if they don’t go, the fear won’t go either.”

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