Emergency response to support vulnerable people in East India floods

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19th September, East India floods

Dramatic floods have been hitting East India for more than one week now. According to local authorities, more than twenty people have been found dead, and many others are missing. So far, up to 16,000 people have been displaced and two million people have been affected. The floods are the result of exceptionally heavy monsoon rains that made several rivers burst their banks. Hundreds of villages have been cut off because of the rise in the water level and thousands of houses have been damaged.

Handicap International, which has been running disaster risk reduction projects in Orissa, has decided to launch an immediate emergency response to this disaster. A needs assessment has been carried out and 60,000 euros of funding have been released to allow the immediate launch of activities.

Our team on the ground will take action to distribute assistive devices (especially walking aids) to disabled and vulnerable people, allowing them to move around again. We are also planning to distribute aid to meet the basic needs of affected families. At the same time, we will work with other humanitarian organisations to coordinate messages to inform the local population about health risks. We will also encourage other organisations to make aid distributions accessible to the most vulnerable people.

Handicap International has been working in this region of India since 2009, running disaster risk reduction projects. The aim is to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the local population and take the needs of disabled and vulnerable people into account in disaster planning.

We have extensive experience of supporting disabled and vulnerable people in natural disasters involving flooding. We have previously launched several emergency responses to floods, including those in Bihar, India in November 2008, and more recently in Pakistan in 2010.