Flooding in India: ChildFund Responds

Reporting by Sachal Aneja, ChildFund India Information and Communication Officer

Flooded village

Villagers seek escape from rising flood waters

In Orissa, India, disastrous flooding earlier this month has affected more than 2 million people in 19 districts, claiming at least 22 lives. In the three affected districts where ChildFund operates, about 20,000 people were evacuated from low lying areas to safer places and provided with emergency food assistance with the help of the government.

The India National Office initiated immediate relief measures in the affected villages, concentrating on the two blocks most affected: Kanas block of Puri District and Mahakalapara block of Kendrapara District.

Kanas Block

Women in shelter

Families make do in temporary shelters.

In this block, 783 children from 14 villages are enrolled in ChildFund programs. Thatched houses situated on low level lands have partially collapsed. People dwelling in these houses were provided emergency shelter in a school building and safer places on higher ground.

The cultivated agricultural lands in the area have been submerged in floodwaters, resulting in a high loss of Kharif crop (crops planted in the rainy season) in the area. Rice, millet, maize, soybeans, vegetables and other staples have been ruined.

Fish ponds are submerged, and many fishermen lost their fishing nets, which are key to their livelihoods. However, Kanas suffered no human casualties. The government provided some cooked food and drinking water for the first seven days following the flooding, and ChildFund is assessing ongoing needs.

Mahakalapara Block

Two people inspect flooded house

A thatched house surrounded by water.

ChildFund and its partners operate in 25 villages covering 965 enrolled children. Petechella, Baghuamedi and Lunagheri are most affected by the flooding; Sabarpara and Olopada are partially affected. Some 75 ChildFund families are directly impacted but all children in the villages have suffered physically and mentally in this devastating flood. The families have lost their crops, vegetables and daily livelihoods.

In both blocks, children especially are at risk of contracting disease from unsafe drinking water. Nutritional food is also in short supply.

Three family members under tarp

ChildFund is working to ensure food and clean water reach families in need.

In the short-term, ChildFund and its partners in the area will work with the government’s relief management authority and respective district administrations to ensure distribution of government relief services. ChildFund India will focus its interventions more on the sanitation issue and distribute bleaching powder, carbolic acid and lime for sanitation of water sources in the affected areas.

In addition, ChildFund is preparing to provide a one-month supply of supplementary food for children, pregnant and nursing mothers and elders in the project areas.

Looking to long-term needs, ChildFund will be distributing vegetable seeds to project families for the winter planting season and ensuring that school buildings and Early Childhood Centers are cleaned and prepared to receive students when schools reopen.

ChildFund will also be convening a consultative flood preparedness meeting with disaster management experts and community members. The goal is to help communities be better prepared and less vulnerable to future flooding.

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