An epidermic of large proportions might just be looming in Patani Local Government Area of Delta State not just because of flood that has wrecked havoc in the area, but reports that the aftermath has sacked the General Hospital there, forcing workers to stack corpses evacuated from the morgue on a make-shift platform that had been innovatively constructed between the ceiling and roof of the threatened health institution.
Dr. Joseph Otumara, Delta State Commissioner for Health, affirmed yesterday, that several other government hospitals were also affected by the flood, including the one in Patani, but said he had not received any report concerning the movement of corpses.
However, coordinator of the Rural Health Africa Initiative, RAHI, a non-governmental organization, working on ground, catering for the victims of the flood in Patani and surrounding communities, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, revealed, “We saw corpses from the morgue of the Patani hospital affected by the flood floating on the waters, some were standing leg deep in the flood, and others in different awkward positions.
“This was at the initial stage of the flood, but I must commend the mortuary attendant and other officials of the hospital; they understood the effect of the corpses that were washed away by the flood from the morgue, what I saw is not a mortuary, but they were embalming corpses there. They salvaged the corpses from the flood and loaded them up on an over-the –roof platform” he added.
Ekiyor, who spoke at the RAHI Relief Camp for Flood Victims, situated at New Town, Patani, along the East-West Road, continued: “My concern, among other things, is that there are many shallow graves in this area, and, besides drowned animals like dogs and goats, other dead bodies might have been dug up by the rampaging flood.
“Some of the villagers have not only been fishing in this contaminated body of water, but also cooking with it. It was not until we started educating them on the dangers of what they were doing that they stopped, because they took the floodwater as part of their normal river and were washing with it, fishing inside, bathing and cooking with it”.
The RAHI coordinator was full of praise for the mortuary attendants in Patani hospital who acted intuitively because if they hadn’t, the floating corpses from the morgue would have been decomposing by now and formed part of the mass of the flood water that the people were cooking and bathing with.