Fri, 22 Sep 2023

ASSAM, India: During this week's heavy rains, which caused the region's worst floods in years, staff at the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Center in Assam, India have had to administer chemotherapy to patients on the road outside the building.

Located in the Barak valley in Assam state, the situation at the 150-bed hospital has become so dire that its administrators have requested life-jackets and an inflatable raft to transport patients and staff.

"Procedures that can be done outside, like chemotherapy and initial diagnosis we are doing on the road where there is minimal water-logging," said Dharshana R, who heads the resource-mobilization department of the hospital, as quoted by Reuters.

"If anybody requires emergency surgery we are conducting them, but we have reduced the overall numbers because of a shortage of nitrous gas required for anaesthesia," she added.

Doctors have only performed four surgeries at the hospital in the past week, compared to the normal twenty.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam's Chief Minister, told Reuters that the nearby Barak river flows from the hills of an adjoining state, adding that while the flood waters have started to recede in many other areas located near Assam's mighty Brahmaputra river, the situation in Cachar and neighboring Karimganj and Hailakandi districts continues to be grim.

More than 150 people have died in Assam and neighboring Bangladesh, and millions have been displaced by catastrophic floods.

Over the past 24 hours, the floods in Assam killed five more people, bringing the toll to 72 since the flooding began about three weeks ago, displacing 7.4 million people in the state.

Some 84 people have died and more than 4.5 million have been stranded in Bangladesh, and the country's government said nearly 5,900 people have contracted various water-borne diseases.

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