Health authorities in the flood-ravaged Garo Hills region of Meghalaya said if precautions are not taken, diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and gastroenteritis may break out once the floodwaters recede.
"Water-borne diseases might break out in the flood-hit areas once the water starts receding in the next 10-15 days," Director of Health Services E. Dkhar told IANS.
The official death toll Thursday rose to 39, while many people were still missing, a government official said. More than a lakh people have been affected after the swollen Brahmaputra and Jingiram rivers submerged over 300 villages.
The government has set up 85 relief camps in the region.
"Low-lying areas like Rajabala, Chibinang, Selsella, Tikrikilla, Charbatapara and Pushkurnipra are still inundated," West Garo Hills district magistrate Pravin Bakshi said. He said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and paramilitary forces have been pressed into the rescue operation.
The government has set up 85 relief camps in the region
The flood waters also swept away livestock and foodgrain, besides damaging standing crops, roads and bridges.
"A mobile medical team has visited the flood-affected areas and distributed ORS (oral rehydration solutions) and anti-diarrhoea medicines," Dkhar said. "Post-floods is a critical period. People should boil food and water and above all maintain cleanliness to avert any health hazard," said Marshal Lamare, a medical expert.
Public Health Engineering (PHE) officials have distributed chlorine tablets and bleaching powder to prevent any outbreak of water-borne diseases.
"We are providing safe drinking water and other essential commodities like rice, dal and salt to the people," said Bakshi.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who earlier conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas, said financial assistance would be sought from the central government.