RAYAGADA: A minor girl, Bangesika Kilo (15), of Bamberi village in Parshalli panchayat of the district died of diarrhoea on Saturday. With her death, the toll in the panchayat due to the disease has gone up to 11 in the last 20 days. The water-borne infection continues to claim lives despite precautionary measures adopted by the district administration to check diarrhoeal deaths.
The district administration on Saturday launched one- month free meal programme for the tribals in different villages of Kalyansinghpur block.
Collector Guha Punam Tapas Kumar took the decision to serve meals after it was noticed that the deaths were mostly due to consumption of stale food and rotten beef, which the tribals eat as a part of their regular diet. Three out of four free kitchens have been opened in the villages of Parshalli, Buduni and Tamakshila (instead of Tebapada) while the one in Gumma could not be started due to heavy rain.
On August 28, the villagers of Bamberi hamlet left their homes following the death of four persons due to the disease in one week. After the intervention of the district administration, the villagers returned home and performed certain rituals to propitiate their presiding deity. But, the minor girl’s death has spread panic in the village again.
The administration swung into action and admitted some of the affected persons to Kalyansinghpur Community Health Centre (CHC) and the rest were shifted to a cluster house in the block.
The Collector said the administration is maintaining strict vigil on the situation but heavy rain hampered services, including medical assistance to some places. Steep hilly roads are also a major hindrance in lending prompt service, she added.
The paramedical forces associated with Dongria Kondh Development Agency are conducting awareness camps in Niyamgiri hill by delivering hygienic food and hot water to the villagers, the Collector added.