With the sunny spell continuing for the third consecutive day on Sunday, the district authorities have disbanded 72 flood relief camps in the district. According to authorities, 22,372 persons have left the camps leaving 17,034 persons in the 110 camps still in operation in the district.

Even as the people have started returning to their homes, the psycho-social problems faced by large number of people in the affected areas have thrown up a major challenge to the district authorities.

And it may need a massive effort coordinating different agencies in the area.

In many cases, the affected persons had not anticipated such a massive flood which flashed through the district following the landslide in the upper reaches of the Meenachil taluk where the river Meenachil originates.

Documents lost

In places like Ayarkunnam, Parambuzha, Thiruvarpu and Aymanam areas, people had to run out of their homes in the night and within 12 hours, the water level had covered the first floor of houses in these areas. Most of them had lost their documents, including Aadhar cards and ration cards and land and educational certificates.

According to district medical officer Dr. Jacob Varghese, there needs to be a joint effort involving the local bodies, Revenue Department, counsellors of the Social Justice Department, trained field workers of the Heath Department and volunteers of the district mental health programme to address the problems faced by these people and to bring back confidence in them.

He said though there had been no major cases of fever or diarrhea reported from the affected areas they were anticipating a threat to vulnerable segments in the coming days.

“ Many of the open wells were inundated with contaminated water during the floods. “But cleaning and drying all these wells in a short period is impossible. That leaves only super chlorination as the way out. However, we advise people to use only boiled water for drinking and cooking purposes,” he said.

Rat fever cases

The Health Department is also anticipating incidence of leptospirosis from the flooded areas. “ Fever cases from lepto hot spots should immediately approach government hospitals,” Dr Varghese said.

Another challenge being anticipated by the Health Department is incidence of dengue fever as there was a chance of the a sudden increase in the population of aedes mosquito.

K Purushothaman, a paddy farmer, said the polders were filled with huge quantities of waste accumulated during the floods that lashed the district last week.

“Not only paddy, but also vegetables planted with an eye on the Onam market have been distroyed in the floods,” he said.

According to district panchayat president Sunny Pampady, the local bodies would have to play an important role in addressing the challenge posed by the large quantity of waste materials that has landed in the lower end of the Meenachil basin and also in the major flooded areas.

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