NGOs in India, Bangladesh and Nepal gear up for flood crisis

By staff writers
August 4, 2007

More than 150 people have died and 20 million have been displaced from heavy floods in south Asia. Reports estimate more than 12 million people in India, 5.5 million in Bangladesh and 750,000 in Nepal are affected, and face severe food shortages and vulnerability to water-bourne disease.

Regional NGOs, backed by international prtners such as Tearfund and Christian Aid, are providing communities in India with shelter, food, water and medical supplies.

Government relief efforts are also targeting those in Bangladesh but food is scarce. In Nepal devastating landslides and floods have hit the southern part of the country.

Floods, earthquakes and cyclones regularly batter India, so NGOs are experienced at responding to such disasters. This monsoon season, Tearfund. the UK-based evangelical churches' agency, says its partners have been able to respond immediately to the floods.

Helping communities prepare for floods and reducing the impact of disasters on vulnerable communities is a key part of Tearfund’s work in India. For example, early warning systems are put in place, high rise tube wells are installed and communities practise evacuation procedures. Community disaster funds can be used to buy food in the early days of floods.

The Discipleship Centre (DC) is running disaster risk reduction projects in five villages in the state of Orissa. These five villages have been severely affected by floods but there have been no deaths.

In Bihar state, Tearfund partner the Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) is providing food, medical kits, water purification tablets and temporary shelters to affected communities. They are distributing water disinfection tablets, hygiene kits and medical kits.

EHA is also running a mobile health clinic and trying to provide outbreaks of water-borne diseases. EHA is trying to maintain children’s education by providing bags and school books. They are also giving seed to farmers who have lost everything.

Eficor and DC are providing emergency relief to some 6,000 families in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. They are distributing enough food rations for three weeks as well as items such as cooking pots and sleeping mats to these families, with the help of their partner agencies and local churches.


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