The situation in the western state of Gujarat - one of the hardest hit - remains grim. Communication lines are down, electricity has been cut off, roads closed, and water supplies disrupted in many villages. Contaminated water sources and standing pools of water have raised the risk of disease, including outbreaks of gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, malaria, jaundice, and typhoid. Huge losses to property, agriculture, and livestock have been registered in the area, and livelihoods have been jeopardised as a result.
The government has called on army and air force units to help evacuate people to safer locations and to contribute to relief operations. Caritas India and Catholic Relief Services, who have been involved in coordination meetings with the government and other NGOS, have conducted needs assessments in the affected areas and designed a three-pronged strategy to help more than 20,000 families through emergency relief, rehabilitation, and disaster preparedness programmes.
One of the main priorities now is ensuring that people have enough food and clean drinking water to tide them over until normal daily activities can be resumed. Under the plan, Caritas India and CRS will provide families with rations of rice, pulses, and condiments for 10 days, and supply basic kitchen utensils and clothes to those who have lost all their belongings. Medical camps will be set up to offer health care services to an average of 300 people per camp, while temporary shelter will be provided to those in need.
Intermediate rehabilitation plans include cash-for-work initiatives focusing on the removal of debris from villages, cleaning of drainage lines, repair of access roads, and revival of water sources. Seeds are also to be distributed to the poorest farmers in a bid to restore livelihoods. Longer-term rehabilitation efforts and disaster preparedness programmes are also planned.
Caritas India and CRS aim to assist around 13,565 families in 140 villages in Gujarat, 8,233 families in 76 villages in Madhya Pradesh, and families in 34 villages in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations present in 200 countries and territories.