Emergency in India: Orissa floods

News and Press Release
Originally published
Oxfam is providing emergency supplies to people displaced by the current floods in Orissa. East India has been badly affected by this year's monsoon rains, which are also causing flooding in Assam and parts of Nepal. In Orissa, two-thirds of the state has had flooding in recent weeks, with districts on the coast or in the delta region the worst-affected. Up river, the release of excess water in reservoirs is causing continuing inundations which threaten people already marooned by rainwater flooding.
Latest assessments say that over 3 million people in nearly 5,000 villages have experienced flood damage. Houses, crops and livestock herds have been completely destroyed, and over 1,000 villages are cut off. People and cattle are sheltering in makeshift shanties on national highways and river embankments. Acute shortages of safe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions are set to worsen the situation, as people resort to using floodwater for drinking and cooking.

Oxfam has an office in nearby Bhubaneshwar, and is working in Puri, Cuttack and Jajpur districts to alleviate some of the suffering. We are providing food (rice and jaggery - a local sugar) and water purifiers to 6,000 families, temporary shelters for 2,500 families, and fodder to help keep remaining livestock alive. We are coordinating our activities closely with other agencies working in the region, to ensure maximum coverage and promote good standards of relief operation (see Sphere guidelines for further information).

We are carrying out these distributions with the support and experience of local partners. In addition, we have recruited a number of local volunteers from areas not affected by flooding, who have helped Oxfam boost the speed and efficiency of our distributions. And as we do our emergency response, we are carrying out an assessment into the likely effects of the flood on people's longer term standards of living - eg their health, access to food, and livelihoods - with a view to extending our activities further.

We are also working in flooded areas elsewhere - in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Nepal - providing temporary shelters, food, and clean water to people displaced by flood waters.