Approximately 1.9 million people have been affected in the past week by heavy torrential monsoon rains which flooded 195 blocks in 14 districts of the State of West Bengal. 170 relief camps have been set-up in the state, out of which 126 in South and North 24 Parganas. Patharpratima Block in the Sundarbans – where Tdh implements a long term MCH project in partnership with Sundarbans Social Development Centre (SSDC) – is one of the more affected blocks.
Due to timely evacuation of the population to relief shelters loss of lives could be minimised; on 16th August, the death toll stood at 21. However, 135’000 houses have been fully or partly damaged and livelihoods of people have been severely affected.
A needs assessment carried out by Tdh and SSDC from 14th to 16th August revealed deplorable hygienic conditions in shelters and villages which may lead to a spread of waterborne diseases. Tdh is therefore organizing immediate relief efforts in 9 affected villages.
Heavily pregnant women are being followed up and particular attention is being paid on identified children which are severely and moderately acute malnourished. 4 new severe malnourished children have been shifted to Tdh’s newly opened Special Nutrition Unit.
All 2887 children below 5 years in affected villages will receive a special nutrition ration (Nutrimix – a cereal and pulse mix) which lasts 3 weeks. Near 2’700 families with children below 5 years and pregnant women will receive hygiene kits (Soap, Oral Rehydration solution, Aquatab water purifier, Mosquito net…).
Tarpaulin sheets distributed to 430 families will prevent children with immune systems weakened by the malnutrition from contracting infections such as acute respiratory infection due to the damp environment. Finally, 100 submerged deep tube wells will be renovated and public places desinfected.