India faces worst drought for 15 years

From Federation News 1/03
Despite monsoon rains causing severe flooding in some regions during 2002, over half of India's districts received little or no rainfall. The government has said the country is facing its worst drought in 15 years and has declared 12 states to be drought-affected. An estimated 300 million people are affected. Worst hit has been the western state of Rajasthan, where 75 per cent of crops have been lost. There is an acute shortage of drinking water, food and fodder. In one of the worst affected districts, Pali, the local Red Cross branch has been providing up to 15 tankers of drinking water a day, as well as free medicines to the poorest families. Disaster management personnel from the Indian Red Cross and the Federation's India Operations Centre have been at the forefront of assessing the scale of the disaster, drawing on the lessons learned from the relief operation implemented during another serious drought in 2000.