India faces floods every year and Assam has always been at the receiving end. Hence, Assam state branch has developed ability to respond during any disasters. “Floods – 2017” were not different. As soon as the floods hit Assam, this state branch set out to respond with rescue and first aid services immediately in six of the most affected districts. Further, the state branch has trained volunteers to not only carry out rescue but also look in to the needs of the affected people within the affected districts. The branch carried a need based relief response which included providing food to almost 30,000 people in 15 relief camps in three of the most affected districts.
The state branch also organised 15 free health check-up camps and provided medical services to 4,000 flood affected people in six of the affected districts. These health camps were organised in coordination with district health departments. In addition, thirty health camps were held for hygiene and sanitation promotion activities by the state branch SERV volunteers. The state branch also ensured that the SERV volunteers, along with the relief camp committees, supervised 37 relief camps in the six districts.
The state branch showed exemplary discipline working on various fronts to ensure maximum impact of their resources. About INR 60,00,000/- was spent by the branch on this relief operation. Apart from financial resources 70 Indian Red Cross volunteers worked day and night to complete a smooth operation. These volunteer also worked with the government as members of the teams of DDMA, SDRF and civil defence.
Assessing the capabilities of the state branch the Indian Red Cross, national headquarters chose Assam as one of the disaster relief emergency funds (DREF) beneficiary state. In this programme the Red Cross aimed at providing relief to 3,500 families and also serving thousands others through two water purification units. These water purification units were stationed at two districts, one in Karimganj and the other at Nagaon. Apart from this the branch also witnessed support from the Indian Red Cross, national headquarters in the form of jerry cans (500 nos), 495 KG bleaching powder, 425 KG of lime, and 500 KG of alum and 4 cartons of chlorine tablets.
Affected population was initially supported with locally procured resources. Later the help of Indian Red Cross national headquarters too had arrived. The people in the districts of Nagaon, Barpeta, Karimganj and Dhubri were provided with Red Cross aid which included 3,000 kitchen sets, 3,000 tarpaulins, 3,000 mosquito nets, 3000 towels, 3,000 cotton blankets, 300 ladies sarees, 600 gents dhotis, 3,000 bed sheets, 8,000 plastic buckets, 10, 000 assorted clothes, 1000 solar lamps, and also 500 family tents.
The Assam state branch has been successful in managing its image as “a friend in need is a friend in deed”.