CARE brings urgent relief to communities affected by floods

Geneva (28 August 2017) -- As flood waters continue to take their toll in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, CARE teams are on the ground dispatching relief supplies including food, safe drinking water, hygiene kits and household items to affected communities.

The United Nations estimates more than 41 million people have been affected by the flooding, triggered by heavy monsoon rains, across the three countries. Over one thousand people have died. Homes, schools, hospitals, and clinics have been destroyed. Many communities remain cut off by landslides and flooding over roads and railway lines. Much of the flooding has occurred in agricultural areas, damaging thousands of hectares of crops, and raising fears for the long term food security for millions of people across the region.

In Bangladesh, 6.9 million people are affected in 31 districts where immediate priorities are food, safe drinking water, medicine and shelter. More than 600,000 homes have been damaged, many beyond repair. Thousands of people are currently seeking refuge in community shelters, with friends or family, or anywhere on higher ground including roadsides, embankments and schools. An estimated 580,000 hectares of crops have been wiped out by the flooding, and more than 54,000 wells have been damaged or destroyed.

CARE is working with local partners in three of the districts most affected - Kurigram, Jamalpur and Sirajganj - distributing cash grants to enable people to meet their most urgent needs. Many have lost everything they own.

In India, 32.1 million people are affected across the states of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Millions of homes have been damaged or destroyed as people take refuge in camps or high elevation areas including highways, embankments, schools and other buildings, living with little protection from continuous rains. Water sources have been completely submerged or contaminated with mud and debris, leaving communities without safe drinking water. Latrines inundated with flood water pose the risk of pollution and the outbreak of water borne disease remains a concern. Livelihoods and infrastructure including schools and clinics have been damaged or destroyed, and thousands of hectares of crops lost. Those affected are among the most vulnerable. Many work as labourers, dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Without a daily income, their situation will likely deteriorate in the weeks ahead.

In Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where more than 17 million people are affected, CARE teams are focusing on the most vulnerable including women and girls who are disproportionately affected in any crisis. Drinking water as well as shelter kits and hygiene kits containing items including tarpaulins, floor mats, mosquito nets, jerry cans, water purification tablets, sarees/blouses, sanitary items, bathing and washing soaps have been dispatched in Assam and Bihar states. Delivery kits are also being distributed in Assam to expectant mothers to ensure safe childbirth for the many women unable to access health centres. Food items and safe drinking water have been distributed to communities in flood affected districts of Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

"I would have faced a lot of problems had I not received a mosquito net from CARE,” said Sushila Devi from Purnea district in Bihar state. “My children will now be able to sleep peacefully through the night without mosquito bites."

In Nepal, 1.7 million people are affected by flooding and landslides across 35 districts, mainly in the Terai, the agricultural belt that stretches across the country’s southern plains. While water levels are beginning to recede and some people have begun returning to their homes, thousands of houses have been destroyed or submerged, and many families are remaining in temporary camps or in makeshift tents on the roadside. The risk of waterborne disease is increasing and mosquito borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are a concern. Access to many communities remains difficult with a number of roads inaccessible to vehicles because of mud and residual water flows. The majority of wells have been inundated with mud leaving communities without access to clean drinking water.

CARE is working with partners in four districts in Nepal – Dang, Bardiya, Banke and Kailali – to distribute relief supplies including food, household items, water purification tablets, mosquito nets, shelter materials and supplies for mothers of new-born babies.

Like many in her village of Majhdiya in Bardiya district, Nepal, Sarita Mallaha sought refuge on her rooftop as the flood waters rose above six foot. “During times of hunger we drank the flood waters and would salvage sodden rice from our kitchen to feed the children,” she said. “I am nine months pregnant. My deepest fear was the thought of drowning and putting my unborn child at risk”.

Millions of people across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have lost all they own: homes, possessions and livelihoods. CARE is scaling up its response to this devastating flooding but more help is needed.

For more on our work in this region, click here