Sunday, September 7, 2008

Latest on Sept 6 in flood relief zone in Bihar

Update from Dharmendraji

From Village Yakhya in Mali Tola

Here 400 families have been affected, out of which 300 belong to mushar community, about 80 homes have been completely wiped off, virtually no mark left. Our team was the first to reach this village along with Ghadi detergent team, distributed food materials, clothes to around 1000 people, and provided milk to around 250 children.

From Bhola Tap Tola

Around 1200 families have suffered in this area, most of the families here belong to backward community, and here also our team is the first to reach. This, despite the flooding in all these areas since the last 12 days. Here we distributed around 5 quintals chura, 500 sarees, and milk to 500 children.


New concerns:

  • We need to distribute utensils urgently as people are using polythene covers and newspapers etc to drink and eat
  • We also have to distribute mosquito nets as the areas were water logged and we need to take preventive action to avoid diseases caused by mosquitoes.

We are also working with Kaushal Kishore and UNICEF team to conduct camp for delivery of pregnant women and have arranged milk for women who have just delivered babies.

We also made some provisions for Sehri and Iftar for people fasting during Ramzan.

Our camp in Khagria and Saharsha are running, where we are providing food, milk etc to around 1000-1500 people daily.

In long term we are planning to have a center in Saharsha block which will be the action centre from where we will coordinate the work in all four flood affected districts.

Update from Kamayani

· Residents of Krishna Nagar have collected the following material which will be dispatched to flood effected areas this evening.

o 12 tonnes Chura and Gud

o Used clothes of different sizes

o Packets of biscuits and medicine.

· There is a meeting with Medha Patkar and civil society group to plan strategies to tackle the long term problems because of flood.

Couple of AID Saathis are helping to run the camp organized by Railway authority in Court House of Araria

Detailed update from Kamayani:

As at all other times support from the AID community has been tremendous and all of us here in Bihar appreciate your positive response. I have been out in Araria since the 23rd so have been quite silent on email. Yesterday Medha Patkar and NAPM and NBA volunteers were in Patna after their visits to flood affected areas and I had come to join in the meeting planned in Patna. I had promised Priya and Abhishek that I would send an update last night but I guess the day was quite long, broad band at home is not working and I have got some sort of viral infection, put all this together and I am delayed in writing this mail.

Our group Jan Jagaran Abhiyan is a completely voluntary affair, a small unregistered group, with no remunerations and institutional funds (though we have generated some funds from friends for the basic functions of the Abhiyan). And it was just as the Abhiyan was finding its roots in Araria that the floods came and we have jumped head long into relief work.

However, for the relief work we are taking all support whether individual or institutional, and once again I would like to appreciate AID's support here.

So far:

· Visiting camps and rescue points set up across the district to have an understanding of the situation, the needs of the people etc.

· Directing relief materials to places where it is most needed, helping in distribution, coordinating with local administration to reach areas which have got cut off …

· Set up a small control room in Araria where we can store and sort relief materials, before distributing them at the camps, issued an appeal for contributions locally in Araria.

· Medha Patkar with other NAPM and NBA volunteers has been visiting the flood affected areas and they were also in Araria. This has given the group new energy and direction.

· Our volunteers are also supporting running of a transit relief camp at Araria Court Railway station, which is being run by the North Frontier Railway.

Further plans: Continue with all above and also …

· Survey: Swati Desai and Anand Mazgaonkar are trying to organize a small student volunteer team with some senior people, who are experienced in disaster management, with their support we are planning a survey of all camps in Araria dist. According to the Government there are 64 Government relief camps housing about 70,000 people. We hope this survey will give us concrete basis of giving inputs to the administration to improve camp status and also identify gaps that can be addressed by civil society groups.

· Medical Relief: Thanks again to Swati and Anand we are in touch with Darshan, from Mumbai who is organizing a team of intern doctors to visit Araria. There are already cases of diarrheal infections and deaths due to the same being reported from camps.

But even as we do our best with relief we must remember that we have a larger problem at hand. The problem of floods is a recurrent one in Bihar. Every year we re faced by floods, though the scales are far more massive this year. As Medha said flood control is not the solution the solution is flood management. There needs to be a more concerted effort at finding a solution to this recurrent floods problem. I hope some of yu who are interested in this issue will look up the forum, where I had a couple of years ago posted DK Mishra's writings on the Bihar floods.

Leaving for Araria tonight.

Thank you

Best wishes

Kamayani

9771950248

- Kind of relief material that is useful: warm clothes (children), blankets, saris, lungis, gamchas, soap, hair oil. Other than these medicines, dry food rations and monetary contributions. Volunteers specially those who could do survey kind of work, coordinate relief materials, keep stocks

Some flood statistics pertaining to Araria provided by Kamayani obtained from government control room –

· 2 ,27,262 approx affected people in Araria

· Totally inundated gram panchayats 12, partially inundated panchayats 51 ( total 51)

· The blocks affected are: sorbesganj, navpatganj, bhargama, raniganj

· The camps in Araria are also catering to flood victims from worse affected districts like Madhepura and Supoul, who are being rescued and reached to Araria.

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