N.E. India: UNICEF Rushes Aid In Wake Of Floods
UNICEF Rushes Aid In Wake Of Destructive Floods In North-Eastern India
The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF is helping to alleviate the situation in Bihar state in north-eastern India, where 1.4 million people have been affected by severe flooding.
So far, 33 deaths have been reported as a result of the breach in the eastern embankment of the Kosi River, straddling the India-Nepal border, and that figure is expected to rise.
Water has engulfed hundreds of villages and destroyed more than 200,000 homes, and the displaced will not be able to return until the embankment is repaired.
Meanwhile, some 55,000 Nepalese have been uprooted on the other side of the river, and UN agencies are mobilizing aid to assist the displaced.
UNICEF said that roads have been damaged, while water and electricity have been disrupted. Because railway tracks have been submerged, food and other essential supplies are being transported by boat.
The agency warned that camps housing the displaced could become overcrowded, increasing the likelihood of communicable diseases spreading. Further exacerbating the situation is the extreme heat, which is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women.
Children “are most at risk from disease and suffer physical and mental distress from being moved from their homes to relief camps,” said Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Emergencies Communication Officer.
The agency has carried out assessments in three of the hardest-hit districts, and has worked with the Government and other partners to deliver much-needed supplies.
Cases of fever and diarrhoea are being reported in the temporary camps, where hygiene conditions are generally poor, with not enough toilets.
“UNICEF focuses its response on delivering life-saving supplies like medicines, drinking water and sanitation equipment to ward off the threat of disease amongst the affected children,” Mr. McCormick said.