India

India: Maharashtra Monsoon Floods - Information Bulletin n° 4

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

This Bulletin (no. 04/2005) is being issued for information only, and reflects the status of the situation and information available at this time. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

Continuous rains for the past 48 hours have caused landslides and floods and killed at least 60 people in India's western state of Maharastra, leaving a number of people missing and seriously affecting normal life in the nation's financial hub, Mumbai. Trading on Mumbai's bond and currency markets was cancelled and Maharastra Chief Minister declared a state of emergency due to the conditions. The forecast for the next 48 hrs is that the rains will continue and so the government has requested people to stay at home.

The most affected districts were those of Raigarh, Ratnagiri, Konkan and Indudurg, according to Red Cross sources. Electricity and telephone links and transport connections have been cut off. According to official sources, 26 inches of rainfall fell on Tuesday (26 July 2005). The weather officials reported that the conditions were particularly bad because the rain had coincided with high tides. All domestic and international flights to and from Mumbai have been cancelled for two days in a row. The Indian Navy has been called in to evacuate some 150,000 people stranded in offices, roads, airports and railway stations in Mumbai since Tuesday afternoon. The media reports have indicated a financial loss of $110 million to Maharastra due to these monsoon floods.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) Maharastra state branch staff has been stranded in the office since Tuesday evening. The team however mobilized food packets consisting of fruits, bread, ready made snacks, and water to around 1,500 people located at railway stations as these had the highest numbers of stranded people.

The local authorities have employed IRCS volunteers to distribute 10,000 food packets in the city. The Maharastra state branch DM Coordinator is trying to mobilize more resources. Neither the state branch nor the national headquarters are currently seeking further support.

The Disaster Management Centre in New Delhi has been monitoring the situation for the past 48 hours and all personnel at national headquarters and the Federation's delegation in India are on alert. Information is being shared by the IRCS state branch and national headquarters as well with the Federation South Asia Regional Delegation. Daily information reports are being produced by the DMC. The Federation and the national society headquarters DM team visited the regional warehouse in Bahadurgarh to check the latest DP stock position today.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In India: Indian Red Cross Society (Dr S P Agarwal, Secretary-General);email:spagarwalsg@indianredcross.org, phone: +91.11.2371.6441; fax:+91.11.2371.7454

In India: Azmat Ulla, Head of Delegation, New Delhi), email: ifrcin65@ifrc.org, phone: +91.11.2332.4203, fax: +91.11.2332.4235

In Geneva: Jagan Chapagain, Senior Officer, Asia Pacific department; email: jagan.chapagain@ifrc.org; phone: +41.22.730.4316; fax: +41.22.733.0395 or Nelly Khrabrayal; email: nelly.khrabraya@ifrc.org; phone: +41.22.730.4306

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For longerterm programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org