Snakebite Turns Biggest Disaster


Deaths due to snakebites are rising alarmingly and it has turned out as a major disaster for the people of Odisha.


As many as 1716 persons have been killed due to Snakebites in the State during last three years.

While number of reported deaths due to different disasters during last three years is 4689, out of this number of snakebites is highest which accounts for about 37 Percent of total number of disaster deaths.

Looking at the alarming rate of deaths due to snakebites, the State Government has declared is as a ‘State Specific Disaster’ (SSD) and compensation of Rs.4 Lakh are paid to Next of Kin of the victim, said Bishnupada Sethi, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC).

Mostly farmers and poor men and women in villages are victims and looking at their plights, State Government has declared it as SSD though Union Government is not helping out the hapless farmers and poor victims in the villages, pointed out an official.

This is because, snakebite is not listed in State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) prepared by Government of India; however State Government is extending financial support for the next of kin of the victims.

A latest analysis shows 1716 people have lost their lives due to snakebites in 282 Blocks of all 30 Districts during 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Highest 164 deaths have occurred in Balasore District followed by 147 in Ganjam District and 145 both in Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj District, reveals the Report of Special Relief Organization (SRO) and Odisha State Disaster Management Authority(OSDMA).

Besides, 114 deaths have occurred in Bhadrakh district. Thus, Five Districts have death toll of more than 100 due snakebites during last three years.

Going by Blocks, highest 33 deaths have occurred in Basta Block of Balasore District followed by 28 in Chandbali Block in Bhadrakh Districts and 26 in Gondia Block in Dhenkanal District.

There are 10 to 19 deaths due to snakebites in 49 Blocks, where as 226 Blocks have reported death toll due to such menace less than 10.

There are no reports on deaths due to snakebites in remaining 32 Blocks.

According to timing, most of the snakebites have occurred during May to October. Out of total 1716 snakebite deaths occurred during last three years, 1464 deaths, which are about 85 Percent, occurred during these six months.

Highest number of deaths due to snakebites have occurred in July(314), followed by August(306), June(281), September (253), May (156) and October (154) in the above last three years.

“This shows that snake bite deaths have a definite correlation with rain and flood”, feels Deputy Relief Commissioner, Pravat Kumar Mahapatra.

In fact,
Monsoon is the hatching season for the snakes and therefore they look for damp places in households.

However lowest snakebite deaths have occurred in January followed by February, March, December, November and April.

Officials admit that Ninety Seven percent of the victims are rural residents making this a ‘Rural Problem’, while 77 percent of the deaths happen outside of health facilities.


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