New Delhi: Of the five dengue deaths in the city this season, three are from Jamia Nagar and Shaheen Bagh locality. The area which falls near the Yamuna riverbed has now become the main breeding ground for mosquitoes and civic borne diseases.
Nadia Zafar (45), who stays in Gali No. 6 in Shaheen Bagh, said that three members of her family were diagnosed with Chickungunya. “My mother-in-law was the first to complain of joint pain, we thought it’s because of old age but we later found out that she was suffering with Chickungunya. A couple of week later, my husband also had the same symptoms; he is now recuperating at home. Yesterday onwards, my son is having high fever. I’m unsure whether it’s dengue or chickungunya,” said Zafar.
There is a panic in the neighbourhood as every second family has a person who is either suffering from dengue or chickungunya. “We are told by the corporation officials to not let water stagnate in our houses, but what about the contaminated water in the sewage? Who will clean that?” said Kaneez Fatima (32), a resident of Gali No. 3, Shaheen Bagh whose mother is admitted to Holy Family Hospital and is recovering from dengue.
Mizan Ahmed (53), who stays beside the local dispensary on Kalindi Kunj Main Road, is still recovering from chickungunya, which confined him to bed rest for three weeks. “My entire body was paining. All my joints were swollen up. I was sent back from the hospital after getting my dosage as there were not many beds in the hospital. Since then, I’ve been lying here and my business is getting affected,” said Ahmed.
The local hospital in the area, Al-Shifa Multispecialty Hospital is brimming with patients suffering from chickungunya and dengue. “We are falling short of beds to deal with the recent influx of patients. Most of them have been suspected with chickungunya, so we are doing the necessary tests, giving them medicine dose and telling the patients to take rest at their homes,” said Ataur Rahman, the resident medical officer at the hospital.
The Yamuna riverbed, which has been long neglected by the corporation, has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “There’s a lot of dirtiness around our area. The corporation officials are not spraying disinfectants like they used to too earlier. Even the culvert and sewages haven’t been cleaned,” said Mohammad Qasim who has been admitted to Al-Shifa Hospital and is suffering from dengue.
Residents of Abul Fazal Enclave in Okhla say that every year, dengue claims a number of lives from the neighbourhood. Wasim Akram who has been staying in the area for over 20 years say that the prime cause of mosquito breeding is the open drains in the area. “These drains are seldom cleaned and are often brimming with dirty water. My eight-year-old nephew is admitted to Holy Family Hospital after complaining of severe muscle pain and nausea,” said Akram.
This article first appeared in The Times of India, Delhi Edition issue dated 30.08.2016