A senior government doctor from Dehradun pointed out the imminent threat of respiratory problemsthey are likely to face due to the presence of large amounts of silica in the tunnel.“They will possibly have serious respiratory issues after being stranded in the tunnel for a week. Additionally, some individuals may experience hypoxia, struggle to maintain normal oxygen levels, pulse rates, and blood pressure,” the doctor cautioned.
Uttarkashi CMO RCS Panwar said they are doing their best under the circumstances. “We have already supplied vitamin C and medication for constipation and headaches, as requested by the trapped workers.” On Saturday morning, during a visit to the site by a TOI team, a group of workers expressed frustration as the rescue operations have stopped since Friday afternoon.
Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Drilling operations come to a halt, trapped workers face continued distress
Tinku Kumar, a fellow labourer, shouted, “Our trapped brothers need food in their stomachs to digest the medicines. Authorities must understand that they haven’t had a single proper meal in a week. Popcorn and dry fruits just won’t do.”
The Indian Psychiatric Society also raised concerns about potential mental health issues among the workers. Laxmi Kant Rathi, vice-president of the Indian Psychiatric Society, said there was need for post-rescue “identification and counseling”, recognising that different individuals may exhibit varying psychological responses to the situation.
He said, “Every mind responds differently in such a situation. There is a possibility of the workers facing mental health issues — bouts of anxiety and depression, after being trapped inside the tunnel for such a long period. Some may be required to be kept under observation for a while after rescue.”
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