(Image from the Facebook page of Saravanan Madhavan inspired many to undertake the task for themselves. The post read, “My street was fully filled with Coovum river and drainage water. But we didn’t wait for corporation or politicians. Went down to street and began to clean as a unit. Whole residents came down to the street. Within an hour my street (became) clean and neat. I am proud of my street people. Like this every area people can clean their street and can make it clean again.” )
Chennai is taking stock of what the receding waters have left in their wake. The task ahead is not one for the faint-hearted.
Heartwrenching is the discovery of bodies in marooned buildings, people who never made it out. One of the most tragic among them was the drowning of an engineer-couple trapped inside their office in Ekkatuthangal. Just two days ago, rescue personnel found the body of an elderly couple at Defence Colony in Nandambakkam, reported Times of India. With many parts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore still submerged, it is feared that the scale of such human tragedy could be higher.
Then there is fear of the spread of leptospirosis and other waterborne diseases. Allergies and viral infections caused by contaminated water are only to be expected.
Piles of garbage have been swept up by the flood waters, sewage has entered the homes and where the flood waters have not yet receded, there is an unbearable stench, reported the Hindu. In some areas, people have spotted carcasses floating by, and rodents and snakes run riot in abandoned homes. The situation is ripe for an epidemic, if the State is not prepared, public health experts have warned, the Hindu stated.
Medical college hospitals that have been conducting mobile health camps across the city from Sunday, are seeing a lot of skin ailments. “Most of the patients have sores on their feet from having waded through water. We are seeing a lot of colds, coughs, fevers, vomiting and diarrhoea,” said T. Ravindran, professor of medicine, Government Kilpauk Hospital, which, along with Government Royapettah Hospital, is conducting 40 camps a day.
Apart from the infections, there are also injuries – from sharp objects in the water that people cannot see.
Doctors have said residents must take precautions – apart from boiling drinking water, they should filter and chlorinate all other water before use too. “So far, we have no large-scale incidence of fever and diarrhoea, two conditions that we are expecting at this stage,” explained a senior health department official. (The Hindu)