As thousands of refugees continue to pour into India from East Pakistan, a cholera epidemic has broken out in the camps where the refugees are living.
As thousands of refugees continue to pour into India from East Pakistan, a cholera epidemic has broken out in the camps where the refugees are living. In the Nadia district, some 60 miles north of Calcutta, more than 2,000 cholera deaths have been reported. Another 2,000 people are being treated for the disease.
Officials in the Indian state of West Bengal, where most of the refugees are, have appealed for medical supplies to fight the epidemic. The officials are trying to register all refugees then give them anti-cholera vaccinations and small pox innoculations. But with a reported half a million refugees in the Nadia district alone, the task is a huge one.
VISNEWS cameraman Durgadas Chatterji went to a refugee camp at Dum Dum, about 20 miles from Calcutta, to get this graphic film of the situation.
SYNOPSIS: Refugees are reported to be still pouring across the border from East Pakistan into India. Now cholera has broken out and its reported to be in epidemic proportions. In one district alone there have been 2,000 deaths reported and another 2,000 people are being treated for the disease. Officials of the Indian state of West Bengal, which borders East Pakistan, have appealed to foreign countries for medical supplies to fight the epidemic. There's said to be an epidemic across the border in East Pakistan, too.
The officials are trying to register all the refugees, then make sure that they get anti-cholera vaccinations as well as innoculations against small pox. But with hundreds of thousands of refugees, and more arriving every day, it's a huge task. The Indian central government is rushing a quarter of a million doses of cholera vaccine to the border area.
Most of the refugees finish up in camps. They've nowhere else to go. It's estimated that more than half a million have crossed into the Nadia district alone, some 60 miles from Calcutta. An estimated 100,000 crossed the border last weekend alone. There are now many camps. This one is 20 miles from Calcutta. Local officials are doing what they can to provide food and shelter.
The Nadia district magistrate says his area has reached saturation point with an estimated 600,000 refugees. But he expects a further 200,000 East Pakistanis to cross the border in the next few days to put an even greater strain on the district's relief operation.