Cyclone Yaas evacuation may increase COVID-19 infection risk in coastal areas of West Bengal
About 15 lakh folks had been evacuated from totally different districts of the State, principally from Purba Medinipur and South 24 Parganas districts, in response to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The swift and well timed evacuation of folks from coastal areas of West Bengal in view of Cyclone Yaas saved many valuable lives however has additionally elevated the probabilities of the spreading of COVID-19 infection.
Despite repeated appeals by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that COVID-19 protocols be adopted on the cyclone shelters, the state of affairs on the bottom was totally different. According to Ms. Banerjee about 15 lakh folks had been evacuated from totally different districts of the State, principally from Purba Medinipur and South 24 Parganas districts.
Experts stated that catastrophe preparedness had by no means taken under consideration the impression of a pandemic the place infections might unfold from individual to individual. The focus of evacuation had been on rescuing as many individuals in a brief span of time to cyclone shelters or larger areas.
“It is like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. If people are not evacuated and put in cyclone shelters they are under serious threat and putting people together in cyclone shelters increases the danger of the spread of COVID-19 infection,” Punyabrata Gun, a public well being knowledgeable, stated.
Dr. Gun, convener of the Joint Platform of Doctors, stated that with breaches of embankments being reported in a number of locations in Sunderbans, the folks might need to remain longer on the cyclone shelters and there was a risk of water-borne infections as effectively.
Tuhin Ghosh, director of the School of Oceanography, Jadavpur University, stated that breaches of embankments this 12 months was excessive in comparison with May 2020 when cyclone Amphan battered coastal areas of the State.
“Lakhs of people were evacuated during Amphan and what we saw last year was a rise in COVID-19 infections after the cyclone, particularly in North and South 24 Parganas districts,” Prof. Ghosh stated, including that infections had elevated manifold in May 2021 in comparison with May 2020.
Like Dr. Gun, Prof. Ghosh additionally added that the breach of embankments at a number of locations had led to massive areas in the Sunderbans being inundated, forcing folks to increase their keep in shelters even after the cyclone weakened.
South 24 Parganas is one of the severely affected districts because of the pandemic. In the previous 24 hours, the district has reported 12 deaths because of the viral infection, the third highest after Kolkata and North 24 Parganas. As sure areas in the district are remoted islands, offering folks entry to well being services can also be a problem.
Ajanta Dey, Member, Commission on Ecosystems Management (CEM)-International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stated that the inhabitants density in Sunderbans, which was ecologically fragile, was larger than the nation’s common. She stated the folks there have been going through nature’s wrath in the shape of cyclone Yaas together with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms. Dey, who has labored extensively in the Sunderbans, stated there was additionally the worry of water-borne infections spreading among the many areas the place there had been ingress of saline water.
Along with Purba Medinipur district, which borders Odisha, a number of areas in South 24 Parganas like Namkhana, Kakdwip, Sagar, Gosaba, Kumrirmari, Patharpratima have been inundated as a result of of twin results of full moon excessive tide and cyclone Yaas.