As 73 children died in the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis at 505 villages in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district in Odisha, a 10-year-old boy’s letter to the Prime Minister fervently appealing for help laid bare the desperation of the villagers.
Official sources said that the death toll had mounted to 73. Malkangiri chief district medical officer Uday Shankar Mishra, however, claimed that 27 children had actually died of JE while others perished due to different reasons.
“Save our lives. Many of my friends have died of Japanese fever. You are roaming around the globe. Cannot you come over to our village and see how children are dying here,” Umesh Madhi (10) said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Madhi, a student of class four of Polkanda Primary School under Sikapali gram panchayat, described the ordeal of parents who lost their children in the Japanese Encephalitis.
“Sir, You are touring different countries. Can’t you come down to our village and see the plights of people here,” Madi said, adding that the Prime Minister was their last hope.
As many as 505 villages in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri have been affected in the JE.
The state government today admitted that the situation remained grim for last three-four days.
Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Nruparaj Sahoo, who is currently in Malkangiri to monitor the situation, said the situation had not improved as per expectation.
“The situation has remained grim even as the district administration has taken all possible measures to check the outbreak,” Sahoo told reporters.