PLAGUE HITS HARD IN WESTERN INDIA
[ Article crossposted from alt.culture.us.asian-indian ]
[ Author was Amit Vora ]
[ Posted on 25 Sep 1994 22:05:19 GMT ]
This article was taken from the INN-news services :
The western regions of the country are in the grip of panic with the
outbreak of highly contagious pneumonic plague which has lead to an
exodus of people from the worst affected areas most notably Surat.
Till Saturday (September 25) 50 people (the official toll is 24) had
died in Surat with another 400 people undergoing treatment in various
hospitals and clinics.
The authorities have formally declared the seven districts in south
and central Gujarat as "plague hit".
Meanwhile, the authorities in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra
have been put their health services on high alert.
The Gujarat districts are Amreli, Bhavnagar, Surendranagar,
Ahmedabad, Baroda, Baroach and Surat. Union Health Minister B
Shankaranand and Gujarat Chief Minister Chhabildas Mehta went to
industrial town of Surat on September 25 with senior health officials
and declared that the claimed had been contained.
Shankaranand promised to "flood" Surat with medicines and said that
he had been specially asked by the Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao to
visit the affected. The PM is reportedly keeping a close tab on the
Meanwhile, the media is awash with reports and pictures of people
attempting to get out of the affected areas. Everyday brings fresh
photographs and reports of people rushing towards the railway station
in Surat where no train is stopping. According to one estimate over
million people have deserted the city.
The people fleeing the affected zones are heading in all directions
and taking the hysteria with them. With the discovery of three people
afflicted with plague in a Bombay hospital panic has gripped that
city as well. Tetracycline, an antibiotic for plague treatment, has
disappeared from chemist shops not only Bombay but also in Delhi.
Such is the snowball affect that there are reports of authorities in
eastern states like Orissa, thousands of kilometres away, have
initiated steps to check the outbreak of plague. Reports from
Rajasthan, which borders Gujarat, state the villagers have launched
an intensive drive to kill rats in their regions.