The people in the disaster affected areas around Uttarkashi are reeling under severe health problems and they require long term planning for a comprehensive health care. This was the impression gathered by 8 members medical relief team by the joint efforts of Indian Doctors For Peace & Development (IDPD), IMA Ludhiana, Punjab Medical Representatives Association and Whole Sale Chemists Association which went to several interior villages and gave medicines to the needy. They climbed on difficult terrains for several kilometers carrying medicines and crossed on man pulled trolleys over the overflowing raging Ganges to reach inaccessible areas. In addition to holding camps to examine the patients, they visited serious patients in their home and gave preventive and curative treatment including intravenous infusions. Large no of population particularly women and children were found to be anaemic and poorly nourished. The infectious diseases particularly abdominal, skin and chest were rampant. Women folk, because they have to bear most of the workload including carrying fodder fuel in form of wood, on their back were found to be having backache and other degenerative problems. The female doctors in the team Dr Mrs NEELAM SANDHU and Dr Miss RACHANA BAWA said that women and children were more affected by anaemia & other diseases of poor nourishment. In addition women had lot many gynaecological disorders. Dr. S. K. PRABHAKAR, a psychiatrist in the team found that the large no of population in the affected area were suffering from anxiety, post traumatic stress disorders. He gave them psychological counseling and encouraged them to move forward. Dr. SHAKIL-UR-REHMAN, a paediatrician found underdevelopment among the children. Dr. ARUN MITRA, General secretary IDPD and Former President IMA Ludhiana, who led the team said that there is need for a continuity of work on the health care. People have to be given basic health education to improve their hygiene & surroundings and their nutritional status needs to be improved to strengthen immunity. Efforts have to be made for gender equality particularly for the nutritional status of women. The team further expressed feelings from their observation & information that the collateral damage could have been much less if effective steps would have been taken earlier to avoid damage to the ecosystem and environment by the administration and the people. They also demanded long term planning to preserve ecology by preventing deforestation & adopting development strategy keeping the environment into consideration to avoid any such disaster in future. The team members were anguished at that some political parties, instead of taking it as a humanitarian cause were using it for their political ends.
The team had left on 7th July 2013 and stayed in the region for almost a week. On their way back they had to wait for 9 hours on the road due to landslides. The medical relief team got logistic support from the Uttarkashi district health authorities, police and several social activists. The help rendered by Comrades Samar Bhandari, Dinesh Nautial, Nagendra Thapyal and Anand Rana will always remain fresh in our mind.