India: Bihar flood relief updates - 11 Sep 2008

News and Press Release
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Situation Report

Owing to the devastating effects of the Kosi River, a number of relief camps were set up in the Saharsha District as most of the areas in this district are on an elevated level. 200 people from five of the most severely affected blocks (Sanoavadra, Pathargarh, Sor Bazar, Madhepura and Muraliganj) along with their livestock found shelter at the Patwaha village of Saharsha District.

The relief camp is located at the Middle school in Patwaha. It has adequate space to accommodate 150-200 people. It has a hand pump to provide fresh water and has two toilets that are well constructed.

EHA's Response

EHA conducted a quick needs assessment by observations and interviews with flood victims and discussions with the panchyat samiti. The victims were mostly women and children. The immediate identified needs were food and medical care.

EHA further conducted a meeting to start a community kitchen at the Patwaha relief camp with some participation from the community.

The community kitchen was started at the Patwaha Relief camp on 6th September, 2008, through which cooked food was provided three times a day to the people.

Volunteers of the Disaster Management Division of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, provided helped in the running of the community kitchen with the assistance of members of the CHD team from Duncan Hospital, Raxaul.

As the flood waters in the villages started receding, a number of people returned to their villages.

Medical Camp

EHA conducted a medical camp at the relief centre on 6th September, taking into consideration the poor health conditions of the people in the flood affected areas. 48 people in the relief camp received medical treatment. Medicines were provided to 30 people and other cases were referred to a hospital in Saharsha.

Emerging Issues

1. Many flood victims have left their respective houses without taking additional clothes. Distribution of clothes needs to be taken into consideration.

2. Shortage of fodder for the cattle has to be addressed.

3. Veterinary doctors are to be alerted in case there is an breakout of diseases.