AS the number of people at evacuation centres continues to swell, health authorities in the Western Division again expressed concern that overcrowding and unsanitary practices could lead to an outbreak of communicable diseases, or worse still, a health crisis.
Divisional Health Inspector Dip Chand said medical teams had been deployed with district officers around the division to inspect and assess the situation at evacuation centres.
"We are seriously concerned about the state of evacuation centres. We have to put in place strategies that will prevent outbreaks and contain diseases ù if they do exist at these centres. We have to ensure that we do not reach the crisis level," said Divisional Health Inspector Dip Chand while addressing heads of government departments at an emergency operations centre briefing in Lautoka yesterday.
Mr Chand added that authorities needed to take heed of lessons learnt from the recent past where unsanitary practices were allowed at evacuation centres.
"There should be no grog drinking, smoking or merrymaking allowed at these centres. People have to respect that there are elderly, women and children at these centres and there needs to be policies in place to address this," he said. As of 10am yesterday, 11,772 people were recorded at 117 evacuation centres in the Western Division.