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Editorial (Dr SS Agarwal, Dr K K Aggarwal)
12th April 2016
IMA stands in solidarity with Kollam in its hour of crisis
 
Dear Colleagues

Sunday, 10th April, 2016 was a black day for Kollam, when a massive fire broke out following an accidental explosion, which occurred during a competitive ‘all-night’ fireworks display as part of the annual 7-day festival in the famous Poottingal Devi temple.

The accident happened around 3.15am during the firework procession, which was conducted despite a stay by a local complainant, followed by loss of power supply in the area that prevented the local people to fully comprehend the extent of the tragedy.

The real rescue work started around 6am, and police force and local people started shifting people to various hospitals in and around Kollam in a very bad shape. Almost all of the bodies were mutilated, which made it very difficult for the district medical officers to conduct postmortem examination.

Rescue operations for the injured was done in an effective manner with private & public hospitals contributed their service in a flawless manner. Till now 110 people have been declared dead; of these, only 50 bodies could be identified and handed over to the relatives.

This may not be an accurate number of deaths, considering the popularity of event across Kerala and the state in which body parts are being retrieved from the area. The total number of injured, some of them in a very bad shape, is around 300 as per the latest report. This figure can rise in view of heaviness of the blast and fumes.

Till now postmortem of around 75 is completed in the Kollam district hospital in an appreciable manner and an effective triage system that was called into action in the district hospital despite shortage of space.

Emergency rescue systems in Kollam worked harmoniously in the wee hours of Sunday, which was widely appreciated by media and public.
The herculean task in front of medical fraternity now is to bring in more service personnel in the field of blast injury management and genetic identification of remaining 40 body parts.

This disaster is an eye opener event to ban such display of fireworks, which puts the lives of innocent people at stake.
IMA is actively involved at the site by providing enough man and expertise power to tide over the crisis.
Dr A Marthanda Pillai, National Immediate Past President visited the site along with Director of Health Services to tide over the crisis and boost the morale of rescue workers.

State IMA leaders also expressed their willingness to provide whatever needed in such situation, including supply of required blood, which is the backbone of recovery in case of blast injuries.

Experts in this field are now here to look after the victims, who accompanied the Prime Minister and central Health Minister, which has added impetus to the rescue work.

The State IMA is planning to go to court to ban such cultural activities, which can cause heartbreaking incidents in future  
We pray for those fighting for their lives …
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