Thursday, 26 May, 2022
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Govt asks states to review health infrastructure in coastal districts ahead of Cyclone Yaas

The ministry also asked states prepare an evacuation plan for community & health facilities in the path of the cyclone and warned that health challenges might be compounded amid Covid.

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New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday asked states near the eastern coastline to prepare themselves for Cyclone Yaas that is likely to hit by May 24.

Secretary of the health ministry, Rajesh Bhushan wrote the letter to Chief Secretary of States of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and Administrator of Andaman and Nicobar Island to draw attention for taking immediate necessary measures, in all coastal districts.

“As per information provided by IMD, a low pressure area is very likely to form over North Andaman Sea and likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24, likely to move northwestwards and reach near Odisha West Bengal coasts around morning of May 26, as of now. Apart from the impact of Cyclone in Odisha and West Bengal, there may be widespread rains in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and districts of the east coast that may cause inland flooding,” Bhushan told Chief Secretaries.

In view of public health challenges already posed by the COVID-19 pandemic may be compounded due to the direct impact of COVID and public health risks posed in terms of waterborne, vector borne and airborne diseases that may arise in the community or in the displaced population in camps/ temporary shelter settings, he urged the Chief Secretaries to take immediate necessary measures in all the coastal districts.

“Activate the Health Sector Incident Command System and Emergency Operation Centre/Control Room. Identify a Nodal Officer and convey his contact details to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” he added.

Asking the chief secretaries to activate health sector DM plan and the hospital Disaster Management Plan of all the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Andaman Islands, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal, Bhushan said the emergency department preparedness in all these hospitals needs to be reviewed. The Ministry also directed them to advance planning on evacuation from the community and health facilities which are on the path of cyclone, to safer places/bigger hospitals.

Moreover, the district surveillance units and public health teams mobilised for COVID management needs also to be reoriented on possible outbreak of epidemic prone diseases such as influenza, measles, acute diarrhoeal diseases, dysentery, leptospirosis, dengue, malaria, etc.

“There should be adequate power back up arrangements for all the hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chain and Oxygen generation units (MLO, PSA plants) other supportive medical facilities. The availability of water, electricity and fuel for the health facilities in affected districts shall be ensured. vii. It needs to be ensured that health facilities are stocked with adequate essential medicines and supplies to meet any exigencies arising due to disruption on movement of vehicles, due to high wind and heavy rainfall”, read the letter.

The Ministry further requested the states to follow the IMD release on cyclogenesis in North Andaman Sea. Based on the forecast on the morning of May 24, once the landfall and intensity of cyclonic storm is predicted, evacuation of the hospitals in the path of the cyclone in concerned District s of Odisha/ West Bengal and other areas may be planned in advance.

In May-June 2020, Eastern Coastline was badly hit by Cyclone Amphan thereby impacting states like West Bengal, Odisha among others.

Also read: As tropical storms become common, Covid-19 is changing how insurance claims are handled


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