Kohima: A day ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement on the extension of nationwide lockdown till May 3 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a four-year-old girl from Nagaland’s Kiphire district, who was electrocuted in January this year, was finally discharged from a hospital in Kohima after receiving treatment. With her father and her elder brother by her side, the family who longed to return to their home in Kiphire instead found a home at a relief camp in the state capital.
Ever since the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, the Kohima district administration and the DDMA swung into action to provide relief materias to daily-wage earners, stranded travelers and students to sustain the lockdown benefiting over 14,000 persons as on Tuesday. While the administration identified designated relief camps for stranded persons since the time of the announcement of the 21-day lockdown, the relief camp was activated only on Tuesday when the stranded family was brought to light.
When this EastMojo correspondent reached the relief camp on Wednesday, the additional deputy commissioner of Kohima Lithrongla Tongpi Rutsa, who is also the relief and rehabilitation officer, was present at the designated room along with the family that has been sheltered at the relief camp, located towards the northeastern side of Kohima local ground. Towards the west, dail-wage earners, stranded labourers and students lined up, a metre apart, to avail of the relief goods being distributed by the administration.
At the relief camp, Rutsa narrated that the four-year-old and her family were stranded in Kohima after a private hospital in Kohima released the patient. Considering it was not advisable for the patient and her family to travel over 240 km back home due to the lockdown, the officer said that the district administration activated its relief camp. Rutsa said that a relief camp has been designated at the Indira Gandhi stadium in Kohima which can accommodate over hundreds of persons, but since there were only few persons who required the facility, they were brought to the relief camp which is even closer to the relief distribution centre.
She revealed that the family had come to the district to treat the four-year old girl at the district hospital but had to be shifted to a private hospital since the hospital was ordered to be converted to a COVID-19 hospital. She said that on being discharged from the private hospital, the family was stranded in Kohima due to the lockdown as the relatives could not shelter them due to regulations laid down by the localities restricting entry of new persons in it areas.
“When we got the information, we brought them to the relief camp and we are giving them all the logistic arrangement like food and lodging. The child is still in need of constant medical check-up so we will be getting in touch with the doctors as and when required,” Rutsa said.
The 52-year-old father, who is working with the Nagaland Police, revealed that his daughter was electrocuted in January this year and was rushed to the district hospital in Kiphire. Although the girl was sent to Dimapur hospital, she was later shifted to the Naga hospital in Kohima for further treatment. With the progress of the district hospital to a COVID-19 hospital, the patient was forced to shift to a private hospital.
“I told the hospital authority that I cannot afford a private hospital treatment since my savings are getting exhausted but they assured that the government will pay for the expenses,” recalled the father, further saying that they shifted to the private hospital. After all the treatment, the girl was discharged by the hospital on Monday. But with nowhere to go, the family stayed held back at the hospital for a night as they could not return home due to the lockdown.
“We have our relatives here but since the local areas are strictly prohibit entry of new persons, we could not stay in their homes. Staying back in the hospital [after discharge] meant that we will have to pay Rs 500 per night as charge. Since I couldn’t afford, we moved out,” he said.
He then recalled how a noble officer referred them to the district administration for relief camp. As they spent their second day at the camp, the father said that although they wish to return home, they chose to comply with the rules directed by the state authorities. The contended father then added that the girl is in good health and will attend a review checkup on May 10.
Meanwhile, Rutsa informed that the district administration has so far distributed relief goods to over 14,000 persons that included daily wage earners, stranded travellers and students, as on Tuesday. While essential goods like rice, dal and salt are distributed daily on need basis, she said that kerosene for cooking purpose will also distributed to people in need of it.
When queried about the preparedness for extended lockdown period, she said, “We have worked out for the whole lockdown period and with this extension we are preparing even more. Essential commodities are in stock, genuine people in need can collect it as and when required.”
She added that relief goods were also handed to colonies to ensure that it is distributed at the localities to avoid overcrowding at the relief distribution point.
“But there are still instances where everyone cannot be covered in the colonies since the area leaders also have records of only the permanent settlers. So, we have volunteers assisting us to reach out to such people, even to the extent of delivering it at their homes to ensure that no genuine person is deprived,” she added.
While helpline numbers can be reached out, she said that one can also reach out to their respective colony leaders, or may directly report to the relief distribution point to avail the essential goods. She also said that once the numbers of persons in the relief camps reach the count of 10, these persons will be shifted to the officially designated place at IG stadium in Kohima.
Besides the local administration, several localities have also been distributing drinking water supply to their respective areas. On Wednesday, the New Market Colony was spotted along NH-29 distributing water to its residents, who queued in a single line maintaining one metre distance, each person holding two water containers.
When queried the youth volunteers assisting the distribution told EastMojo that nearly 7,000 litres of water were regularly supplied to its residents.
Likewise, several other localities, NGOs, church organisations, although not reported, have been contributing their services for residents, giving hope to people.