KENDRAPARA: In flood-hit villages of Aul, Rajkanika and Pattamundai blocks, there's a new danger lurking in homes, snakes! Many people have complained of these unwanted guests slithering inside their houses after being flushed out by floodwaters. As a result, cases of snake bites have also increased.
The latest victim of snake bite was 70-year-old Bhagabati Nayak (70) of Gopinathpur in Rajkanika. A poisonous snake bit her on Sunday night when she was asleep in the house. On Saturday night, 15-year-old Milan Das of the same village was also bitten by a snake. Milan was immediately rushed to the hospital at Kandiahat but the doctors could not save her life.
Snehalata Das of Mangarajpur said people are panicked after two persons of the flooded village died due to snake bite. "We are facing the fury of floods and simultaneously worried about the threat of snakes. It has become a big concern as snakes are taking shelter inside homes," she added.
Hundreds of flood-affected people have taken shelter in highlands and embankments after the surging floodwaters inundated a large part of the coastal district. "I was awake the whole night to guard my family against snakes which are seen in large numbers in the area," said Harekrushna Pradhan, a farmer whose three-room thatched house collapsed in floodwater on Saturday.
Sources said overflowing rivers have forced thousands of snakes to look for dry grounds and the reptiles are seeking refuge in homes and boats. In some flood-hit areas, villagers have started killing the reptiles. In Mandapada, villagers killed four snakes in a day.
Health authorities have asked people to remain vigilant as chances of running into snakes have increased due to the floods. Additional district medical officer Dr M Beg said anti- venom capsules and injections are being supplied to all the health centres. Besides, medical teams have been put on alert in view of the situation.