Villagers of Morab village in Dharwad district of Karnataka are refusing to drink water from a lake that supplies their only drinking water. What is causing this action? It all stared after they found the body of an HIV-positive woman in the lake on November 29th. She had committed suicide by jumping in the lake last week. After finding the body, the word and the belief spread quickly that the water has been contaminated, causing locals to panic.
The water is apparently one of the few if not THE source of drinking water for residents of Morab. Unable to put people at ease that the water was not contaminated, authorities took to draining the 36-acre lake, which is about the size of 25 football fields. The plan is to drain the lake/reservoir/drinking water and refill it with water from the Malaprabha canal, which is now the only source of drinking water and about 3 kilometers away.
“This is unfortunate. We have been telling people not to panic as HIV does not spread through water. But the people are not convinced and they have started draining out the lake,” said Dharwad district health officer Dr Rajendra Doddamani. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) spreads only through body fluids. Outside the human body, the virus cannot survive beyond minutes in air or water. – timesofindia,indiatimes.com
Other health workers state that most do not know that the virus dies when the HIV+ person dies and would only last seconds in the water. The concern and desire to drain the lake is out of fear rather than stigma, ignorance over knowledge. stemming from lack of awareness.
Twenty siphon tubes with four motors tare being use to pump out the water.
Pradeep Hanikere, another villager, said the daily hardship was preferable to drinking water from the lake. “Do the officials drink bottled water if they find dirt or a speck in it? If they can’t, then how can they force us to drink water from the lake where we found the body of a woman,” he said.
Another villager pointed out, “We would have consumed the water if it was the body of a normal person, but the woman died of HIV. There is no other way. The authorities must drain out water and fill it with fresh water to save the lives of villagers.” – timesofindia,indiatimes.com