India: Floods Situation Report 29 Jul 2004

As of 29July 2004 Event : Floods


Current situation

  • All of the 27 districts are now affected by floods

  • 10,502 villages have so far been affected by the floods this year affecting a population of 12.29 million approximately

  • 186,557 houses have been damaged

  • 201 deaths

  • Approximately 1.381 million people are spread over 1,477 camps

  • Total crop area affected is estimated to be 1.159 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 562 kms of National 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

  • There are few reports of cases of diarrhea however surveillance and reporting is being strengthened

Map of Flooded Areas in Assam
Source: UNDP team


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

  • 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

  • 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:

  • 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:

  • Severe damages to houses is a critical problem at present and displaced people need safe shelter as temporary shelters are not in sufficient numbers

  • Health care services in the ongoing shelter camps and centers need improvement -- post natal and neo-natal care should be provided

  • Immediate bridging for state PWD roads

  • Bleaching powder and phenyl are required in large quantities for the affected districts

  • For Shivsagar district medicines, vaccines including veterinary vaccines are in short supply and requests have been made to the State government for support

As of 29July 2004


Current Situation

  • 20 of 38 districts have been affected.
  • 495 people have died
  • 21.17 million people affected
  • 9182 villages affected
  • 652,230 houses damaged
  • Crop damage is estimated at 1.38 million hectares

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

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: Dr B K Verma, EHA Focal Point 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