GUWAHATI, Aug 4 � The Health Department stands on a high alert vis-�-vis the condition of 8,076 babies presently in the relief camps in trouble-torn districts of BTAD following the ethnic violence in the areas.
All these babies are aged below two years and the condition of most of them is stated to be �not so well�.
Already 12 persons have died in relief camps, of which four were minors.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while elaborating on the condition of the babies housed alongside other affected population in as many as 303 relief camps, said, � Health-wise, we are in a state of high alert and both the Central team and the State Health Department are highly concerned about the condition of the babies.�
�Of the 8,076 babies, more than six thousands are sick,� Sarma said, while adding that the overcrowded camps are not helping the cause in any way.
�The camps which can ideally house 300 to 400 inmates, are currently providing shelter to around 2,000 victims, which is complicating things. The inmates, including the babies, lie on the floor, which is aggravating the health complications,� Sarma observed. The relief camps, it may be mentioned, is also sheltering 2,428 pregnant women.
The Minister made an appeal to the people from both the communities to take leadership and convince the least affected victims to decongest the camps.
�The law-and-order situation has improved and people should opt to get back to their homes, unless they are in a critical condition,� the Minister urged.
Sarma further said that, at present, 117 doctors are on job in the relief camps in Bongaigaon, Chirang, Dhubri and Kokrajhar districts and so far 93,789 patients have been treated upon.
�Among these, 14,994 were diagnosed with diarrhea and 3,374 with dysentery. 100 cases of malaria were also detected. Further, 23,088 cases of fever were also detected. Of the total patients treated, 74 cases have been referred to other civil hospitals and medical colleges,� the Minister pointed out.
Meanwhile, from the educational point of view, the minister stated that apart from providing relief to the affected people, there is also the need to make the schools, currently being used as camps, available for educational purposes.
�If by August 15, the situation (occupancy of camps) remains same, the government will have to opt for alternative relief camps. We will have to have a contingency plan to tide over the problem,� Sarma added.