Koshi deluge leaves AIDS patients in the lurch

Dharan, September 26:

The Saptakoshi flood fury has deprived HIV/AIDS patients of treatment and care.

As the flooding has rendered the East-West Highway inoperable, these patients have been finding it almost impossible to visit the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences.

HIV/AIDS patients from Udayapur, Saptari, Siraha, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Dhanusha have been bearing the brunt of the August 18 Saptakoshi flood havoc. The BPKIHS is considered the best treatment centre for HIV/AIDS outside the capital.

Anti-retroviral treatment, CD4 count and Com CD4 services are available at the BPKIHS. It also provides treatment to stop HIV infection to babies from expectant mothers. Ajit Tamrakar, programme coordinator of the Dharan Positive Group, which is dedicated to the treatment of HIV/AIDS-infected in the eastern region, said a dozen HIV/AIDS-infected could not come to Dharan for MRT treatment due to the disruption in vehicular movement. We have also run out of stock of medicines, he said. The MRT treatment is a must for revival of immunity in HIV/AIDS infected.

According to Ajit Tamrakar, transportation fares have shot up. Compared to the land route, the boat ride from Bhimnagar on the Sunsari border to Laukahi costs Rs 200 extra. The infected cannot afford the additional cost, he said.

Dr Lekh Jung Thapa of the BPKIHS said the Saptakoshi flooding has hit the infected hard. The National AIDS and Sexually-Transmitted Disease Control Centre should come to their rescue, he said.

The government and the private sector should work to save lives of the infected people, Tamrakar said.

WFP comes to flood victims’ aid

Kathmandu: The UN World Food Programme (WFP) Nepal is mobilising emergency food assistance for up to 170,000 flood-displaced people in the west.

The latest spate of flooding has inundated eight districts in the Mid and Far-West. Worst hit are three districts in the western Tarai: Kanchanpur, Kailali and Bardiya.

The government and the Nepal Red Cross have put the death toll at at about 30 with the same number of people missing.

The government had initially requested the WFP to feed 50,000 people, but an ongoing inter-agency rapid assessment indicates that the number of the flood-displaced could be as high as 170,000.

“The government response thus far has been very effective, with the Nepal Army, Police, Red Cross and local authorities providing heroic and life-saving assistance to western Nepal’s flood-affected population,” said WFP Nepal’s country representative, Richard Ragan.

WFP’s Emergency Operation (EMOP) has a budget of $2.5 million and will provide the needy with a mixed-commodity basket: Rice, lentils, vegetable oil and salt.

WFP is also providing relief supplies to approximately 70,000 flood-hit people in the eastern region.

Meanwhile, Federal Republic of Germany on Friday pledged a support worth Rs 5.4 million to victims of the Koshi floods. German envoy to Nepal Verena Grifin and secretary-general of

the Nepal Red Cross Society signed an agreement to this effect. The funds will be used for the purchase and transport of 1,220 sets of Non-Food Relief Item kits to flood-affected areas in eastern Nepal. Each kit contains tarpaulin sheet, a blanket, a set of kitchen utensils and clothing items. — HNS