Cyclone-hit areas suffering from medicine, milk shortage

News and Press Release
Originally published
New Delhi (dpa) - Cyclone-devastated areas of the Indian state of Orissa were experiencing a severe shortage of medicines and milk, Indian press reports said on Monday.

While there are an increasing number of people reporting to hospitals for gastrointestinal orders due to the lack of clean drinking water, hospitals and government-run health centres do not have the medicine to treat the cases.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that the shortage of medicines has increased the possibility of epidemics breaking out as cases of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis increase. PTI said the state administration did not have the machinery to deal large scale epidemics.

The state has urged the federal government to declare the cyclone a national calamity as it was not in a position to handle the situation on its own.

Orissa State Revenue Minister Jagannath Patnaik said the fund of one billion rupees (23.2 million dollars) promised by the federal government was not enough to tackle the calamity.

Patnaik said a separate fund should be created to tackle the situation.

The state has demanded five billion rupees as relief and a rehabilitation package of 25 billion rupees from the federal government.

The region also has an acute milk shortage as a major part of its milk cattle herd had been wiped out by the storm. Almost all dairies and refrigeration plants were out of order, PTI said.

Meanwhile as the flood waters caused by tidal waves and swollen rivers recede the situation appears grimmer than was originally thought.

The storm which hit the state with winds of 260 kilometre per hour on October 29 was initially estimated to have claimed some 10,000 lives. But a PTI report from Jagatsingpur district, the area which faced the brunt of the storm's fury said at least 5,200 people perished in two blocks of the district alone.

According to reports reaching state control room in Orissa capital Bhubaneswar some the bodies of 3451 cyclone victims had been disposed of and 2,464 of those were from Jagatsingpur.

Meanwhile army troops continued to make inroads into inaccessible areas by clearing trees and fallen electric poles. State officials said there would be no electricity available in many rural areas for months due to destruction of power lines by the storm. dpa mv js

AP-NY-11-08-99 0650EST

Copyright (c) 1999 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 11/08/1999 06:50:58

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