Mountainous Koraput also affected by heat wave

Koraput: The heat wave sweeping Odisha has not spared the picturesque and mountainous Koraput district, known as one of the coolest places in the state.

The tribal-dominated district famous for its scenic beauty has virtually turned into a boiling cauldron over the past one week as Odisha continues to reel under heat wave with mercury hovering around 40 degrees Celsius at most of the places.

Though the month of April is just nine-day-old, roads in Jeypore, Koraput, Kotpad and Sunabeda already wear a deserted look during day time with most people choosing to remain indoors.

High humidity levels and a hot surface wind have made matters worse in Laxmipur, Pottangi, Semiliguda and Nandapur areas which were once believed to be the coolest parts of the district with high green cover.

According to official reports, hospitals across the district have recorded high number of patients suffering from sun stroke and other heat-related ailments.

Around 200 patients suffering from dehydration are admitted to various hospitals since the last week of March.

Making matters worse, the tribal villages of Laxmipur, Nandapur, Dasmantapur and Pottangi blocks are facing acute shortage of drinking water as most of the natural water bodies have dried up and water levels in wells and tube wells have gone down by at least 60 feet below the normal level.

Meanwhile, locals claim the administration is totally unprepared to face the situation.

"Most of the hospitals do not have coolers or ice bags to treat patients suffering from heat induced ailments. The district administration has made no efforts to set up temporary rest sheds, nor has it set up drinking water facilities like jal chatras at different points along the arterial roads," alleged Bhabani Mishra, a Koraput-based social activist.

Chief District Medical Officer (Koraput) Niranjan Das said special instructions have been issued to all the health centres of the district to open special wards for sun-stroke related patients. Adequate medicines and ice-bags have also been kept in all the hospitals of the district.

Officials at the district emergency centre said no sun stroke deaths have been reported from any part of the district so far.