About eight million people have been affected by the floods in the east Indian state of Orissa, the worst there in 50 years. Other states have also been hit, including Chattisgarh, west of Orissa, and West Bengal. The International Federation has launched an international request for assistance for 1.22 million Swiss francs to support an Indian Red Cross relief operation for 156,000 people in three of the worst hit districts. Since the start of the floods in Orissa early July, the Indian Red Cross has distributed food, plastic sheeting, water purification tablets and other relief items for more than 40,000 people. But health needs are emerging as the biggest challenge as the water begins to recede. Reported cases of diarrhoea had shot up from 1,740 on July 21 to 27,000 by July 31, while the number of cases of suspected malarial fever is standing at 11,000. An additional hazard is snake bites as venomous snakes have been sheltering on the same limited areas of high ground as humans. A Red Cross health intervention is focusing on the distribution of emergency medicines, oral rehydration sachets and serums for snake bites.
232 people were killed after the heaviest rains for 100 years caused flash floods in Punjab and North West Frontier Province where one village was completely washed away. In Islamabad alone, there was 620 mm of rainfall in one day. While there was relatively little damage there, in nearby Rawalpindi, 170 mm of rainfall has caused billions of rupees worth of damage to local businesses and homes. But the worst destruction has been in North West Frontier Province where nearly 170 were killed. The Pakistan Red Crescent has sent tents, blankets, clothing as well as food and medicines to the area and will be sending additional emergency relief items designed to provide for families for two months. The Federation has released 50,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund for further relief work.
Red Cross relief - including food, plastic sheeting, medical kits and clothing - was airlifted today to the remote Indonesian island of Nias in response to flash floods and landslides which have left 28 people dead and 99 missing. Red Cross officals are due on the island to carry out a more detailed needs assessment.