Fourteen More Deaths From Disease in Capital
NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ An epidemic of cholera and gastroenteritis killed 14 more people in the capital on Wednesday and raised the nationwide death toll to 445, hospital officials and news reports said.
An opposition leader called for Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to resign and said he ″had failed to provide an effective administration in New Delhi.″ L.K. Advani, president of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, was addressing a protest march by relatives of disease victims in the capital.
Since the beginning of the month, 171 people have died in New Delhi alone from the diseases, news reports said.
A health official in New Delhi said 14 people died in hospitals on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said more than 12,800 cases of the two diseases had been reported in the nation. The outbreak followed heavy rains in the past month that reportedly contaminated drinking water.
In New Delhi, city officials blame the outbreak of the diseases on the contamination of wells by overflowing sewers. They also blame the contamination on rainfall washing through uncollected garbage.
Garbage in several slums on the eastern edge of the city was not collected for more than three months because of a disagreement between two city agencies.
In Parliament, Home Minister Buta Singh said the government would take action against those found responsible for the epidemic.
In addition to causing disease, the rains from the annual monsoons have resulted in more than 300 deaths from drowning, mudslides or collapses of huts.
Thirty-one more deaths were reported Wednesday, including 19 killed in the past several days in flash floods near Jammu, in Kashmir state, the United News of India reported.
Other victims included three children crushed to death when a wall of their house collapsed in Uttar Pradesh state; seven people reported drowned in Gujarat state; and two swept away in the Ravi River in Punjab state, news agencies said.