India: Floods Situation Report 02 - 03 Aug 2004

As of 3 August 2004 Event : Floods

Current situation

The overall situation of the state is improving with the receding of water levels in the rivers and less rainfall over the state and bordering areas. There are no new damages reported. The following is a summary of the estimated damage:

  • All of the 27 districts are now affected by floods
  • 10,425 villages have so far been affected by the floods this year affecting a population of 12.2 million approximately although water is receding many areas are still submerged and water has been stagnant
  • 556,821houses have been damaged
  • 240 deaths
  • approximately 1.25 million people are in 1350 shelters (Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India)
  • Total crop area affected is estimated to be 1.25 million hectares
  • Flood situation in the state will continue to be serious
  • Lifelines are badly damaged with a number of roads closed to traffic due to damage (approximately 592 kms of National Highways, 3597 of State Highways); railway traffic has also been suspended in many areas (eg, Lumding-Badarpur suspended due to landslides since 10 July)
  • 24 breaches of the embankment have happened in the month of July alone

Map of Flooded Areas in Assam
Source : UNDP Team

Health Updates

  • Cases of diarrhea have been increasing and as the situation wears on the further rise of water- borne diseases is likely to be reported in the coming days and weeks
  • Of the deaths reported 23 people have died of diarrhea
  • Due to the fact that water sources have been contaminated prevention of water-borne diseases will remain a priority that need to be addressed; Sanitation and hygiene issues in camps also need to be prioritized
  • Needed health supplies and medicines have been identified and sent by the Ministry of Health including ORS packets and halogen tablets
  • Epidemic Surveillance by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP) and the Regional Director of Health and Family Welfare in Guwahati are on high alert; a team has been sent by the MOH to advise the state health officials on actions to be taken to prevent epidemics
  • The State Health Department has deployed 2,500 doctors for providing medical assistance to the flood victims in the affected areas. 31 medical officers and 99 health workers in 30 teams have been deployed in the affected areas to provided preventive and curative health services
  • The Public Health Engineering Department is distributing water purifying chemical packets, bleaching powder packets for disinfection of tube wells, ring wells and ponds, installation and repair of tube wells are also being carried out


All state and district administration have taken steps for relief and rescue operation. The officials of all line departments of state and central government have been asked to assist the district administration in the relief and rescue operations and have responded as follows:

  • Army and Air Force assistance have been utilized in rescue operation. 11Air Force helicopters and 69 powerboats are engaged for rescue of marooned people
  • Army speed boats are also utilized for rescue of the affected people.
  • 27 Army columns have been providing assistance in various districts
  • Calamity Relief Funds (from Central government amounting to 462.2 million RS) have been earmarked for distribution of relief goods like food stuff, kerosene, drinking water, and medicine
  • The State Government has requested the GOI for 5 million halogen tablets, ORS packets and 200 MTs of bleaching powder
  • Inter-ministerial committee has been set-up to carry out damage assessment in Assam
  • Emergency Wireless Communications are also being set-up
  • Efforts to address water and sanitation issues such as distribution of water purifying tablets; cleaning and repair of wells have been implemented
  • Support from civil society and international organizations together with bilateral assistance has been provided in various forms particularly by agencies with field offices in Assam State

Points of concern:

  • Severe damage to houses will be a critical problem to address in the near future -- temporary shelters are not sufficient in number and in the medium term
  • Damage to staple food crop cultivation may lead to food insecurity among vulnerable populations (eg, poor farmers)
  • Availability of safe and adequate drinking water is a cause of concern due to contamination of all drinking
  • water sources
  • Lack of proper hygiene in relief camps and stagnation of water as flood waters recede may lead to epidemics of water borne diseases Isolated cases have been reported to the health department
  • Lack of dry storage points to store food and relief items
  • Landslides have further hindered the transport of relief items

Current Needs:

  • Health care services in the ongoing shelter camps and centers need improvement -- post natal and neonatal care should be provided
  • Bleaching powder and phenyl are required in large quantities for the affected districts
  • Construction of sanitation facilities need to be provided in the affected areas
  • For Shivsagar district medicines, vaccines including veterinary vaccines are in short supply and requests have been made to the State government for support
  • Post flood disease surveillance assessment and interventions in the affected districts
  • Immediate bridging for state PWD roads
  • Severe damages to houses is a critical problem at present and displaced people need safe shelter as temporary shelters are not in sufficient numbers

From a report by: Mr A K Sengupta, Environmental Health Officer WHO India Office

Sources of Information : Government Report (Ministry of Home Affairs) ; UNDP Team, Media Reports, NGOs in Assam; Disaster Management Department, Govt. of Bihar; Indian Meteorological Department (IMD); Central Water Commission (CWC); UNDP Bihar Team


As of 2 August 2004

Current Situation

Generally, there is not much improvement on the situation particularly for certain areas. The worst affected districts in the ongoing floods are Dharbhanga, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Samsatipur and Muzzafarpur. Darbhanga district remains cut-off from the rest of the state. Some figures are as follows:

  • 20 of 38 districts have been affected.
  • 570 people have died
  • 21.17 million people affected
  • 9,277 villages affected
  • 1.25 million have taken shelter in 977 relief centers/temporary camps
  • extensive damage to road and rail networks

Maps of Flooded Areas of Bihar
Source : UNDP Team


Lead by State Government in coordination with central government

  • State and Central Government Coordination meetings have been conducted regularly to assist the affected population
  • A total of 10 Army columns for food relief deployed with 6062 boats for rescue and relief operations
  • Inter-ministerial team has been constituted for detailed assessments in the state
  • Ministry of Health has been requested to provide 5 million halogen tablets and to send a specialist team to flood affected areas of Assam to advice the State Govt. on actions to be taken to prevent the outbreak of epidemic situation. Procurement of other medical supplies are currently being arranged
  • An assessment of medicines and health supplies needed has resulted in the procurement of 26 essential medicines
  • Tents have been supplied by different states and institutions to meet the needs
  • The Calamity Relief Fund of Rs.818 million has been released for Bihar.
  • Infrastructure support- temporary roads, bridges, repair of embankments, irrigation and livestock needs and emergency communication networks have been coordinated by the Chief Secretary
  • NGO coordination meeting is conducted regularly to define roles and responsibilities
  • Additional assistance from civil society groups, international organizations have also been provided

Current needs

  • Safe drinking water essential life-saving medicines, shelter material and water purifying agents
  • Planning for immediate, medium and long term rehabilitation and recovery action
  • Issues particularly for vulnerable groups such as women and children have to be addressed
  • Provision of safe and adequate drinking water need is also a priority
  • Post flood- diseases surveillance in the affected districts

Extracts from the Environmental Health Officer of WHO India Office visit report

1. Water level has started receding from a number of places and people have started going back to their own places. As large number of houses/huts has been damaged, more relief camps including temporary shelters need to be created.

2. Most of drinking water sources have been damaged due to mud/sand filling or washed away. These need to be restored/ rehabilitated. It is also essential to disinfect them and monitor the residual chlorine level. Though bleaching powder and halogen tablets are being sent to district headquarters for distribution, proper monitoring of the final use is yet to start. This is a must to keep a watch on acute diarrhoeal diseases.

3. The Disease surveillance programme needs to be strengthened

4. At present there is no monitoring of the quantity and quality of food being supplied and means to cook them.

5. Relief items may not be an issue while their distribution was critical.

6. NGO coordination meeting are held regularly where key issues are discussed and decisions are made

Key areas that need monitoring are points 2, 3, and 4

From a report by: Mr A K Sengupta, Environmental Health Officer WHO India Office

Sources of Information : Government Report (Ministry of Home Affairs) ; UNDP Team, Media Reports, NGOs in Assam; Disaster Management Department, Govt. of Bihar; Indian Meteorological Department (IMD); Central Water Commission (CWC); UNDP Bihar Team