India: Floods DREF Operation Update n° 1 (MDRIN016)

Situation Report
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1 December 2015 – CHF 295,550 is allocated from the IFRC’s DREF to support IRCS in providing assistance to 3,500 families affected by the floods.

There are no major changes to the DREF operation. Minor changes have been made to the budget lines based on actual expenditures incurred on the procurement. The implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities have been removed to be supported under the IFRC’s Cluster Support Team (CCST) Delhi (formerly referred to as the South Asia Regional Delegation (SARD)) Operational Plan 2016. Further, based on the priorities on the ground and following discussions with the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), one of the targeted states has been taken out from the emergency plan of action.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

The South Indian floods resulted from the heavy rainfall during the annual northeast monsoon in November-December 2015. On 1 December 2015, Tamil Nadu faced unprecedented rains resulting in the flooding of several parts of Chennai city and most areas of its suburbs, leaving over 300 people dead. This incident prompted the government to declare it a “calamity of severe nature”. The continued rains led to the closing of learning institutions across Puducherry and Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu (which reopened as of 14 December). Fishermen were warned against sailing because of high waters and rough seas. On 2 December, Chennai was officially declared as a disaster area. The southern railways cancelled major train services and the Chennai International Airport was closed until 6 December 2015.

Both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states have been affected by the floods, resulting in the displacement of a significant number of the population (as high as 400,000 people in the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu); and the contamination of the water system in most of the affected areas.

The worst hit districts in Andhra Pradesh are Nellore, Kadappa, Chittor and East Prakasam, and in Tamil Nadu - Thirruvallur, Kanchipuram, Vellupuram, and Cuddalore including Chennai city. Floodwaters rose to more than 10 feet in some areas and forced thousands of its residents to evacuate on their own. Large portions of land remains flooded at this time. Some relief camps were over populated with people and conditions at the camps posed a health threat because of the inadequate number of toilets. Sanitation is a main issue in rural areas. A significant number of people did not have access to safe drinking water. In terms of health, the prevalence of communicable and water borne diseases in the affected areas is a major concern. A brief highlight of the disaster situation and its effects due to flooding is as follows: