Oxfam launches emergency response in flood-hit Indian states of Assam and Bihar

Emergencies, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 19 Jul 2019

Heavy rainfall and flooding has affected more than 7 million people in two Indian states of Assam and Bihar. Oxfam is responding and providing clean drinking water, emergency shelter and hygiene kits to affected people in several districts of Assam and Bihar.

The flooding has caused massive destruction in 30 districts of Assam and 12 districts of Bihar.

Houses have been destroyed and many areas are submerged and inaccessible in both the states. People have lost their crops and livestock. In several districts, roads and rail networks are closed and public transport has been suspended. In many areas the power supply is out and schools have been closed, as they are either submerged or converted into relief shelters.

As the monsoon settles over the region and water levels continue to rise, the situation could worsen over the next few weeks.

Oxfam India’s Director, Programs and Humanitarian Response Pankaj Anand, said the organisation has started distributing relief material in two districts of Assam and will soon start distributions in two districts of Bihar.

“We are providing clean water, distributing emergency medicines, shelter and hygiene kits to affected people and communities. We will put our experience and expertise on water, hygiene and sanitation into action in Assam and Bihar,” Mr Anand said.

“It is important to ensure that people have access to safe and clean water along with toilets, especially for women and girls, as this can prevent the outbreak of diseases.”

The State Governments of Assam and Bihar have set up more than 900 relief camps.

Oxfam India’s Manager of the National Humanitarian Hub Andrio Naskar said: “The poorest and most marginalised people have been affected by floods and landslides in the two states, and many are still awaiting relief material as most areas are inundated and inaccessible.

“We are coordinating with our local partners and will reach out to the worst affected areas to ensure that the most vulnerable sections are provided immediate support.”,

During the past four years, Oxfam has responded to more than 35 humanitarian disasters across India and directly provided relief to nearly 1.5 million people. Oxfam’s response is guided by the needs of the most vulnerable communities in the flood affected areas.

For interviews or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or dylanq@oxfam.org.au, or on the weekend contact Megan Giles on 0433 028 567 or megang@oxfam.org.au

Notes to editors:
Oxfam is also responding to related monsoonal flooding in Nepal and Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh more than 2 million people have been affected and at least 30 killed. In Nepal nearly 400,000 people have been affected and more than 83 killed.