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27 September 2012

Christian charities helping flood victims in India

Christian charities helping flood victims in India

Christian organisations are among those helping those affected by the flooding in Northern India.

Around 800,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the area following incessant flooding.

It has been raining in the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh continuously for the last 19 days to the extent that river dykes and embankments have been breached.

This is the third wave of flooding since the monsoon downpours began in June, in which 34 people have been killed and 700 villages submerged in the worst flooding the area has seen in three decades.

Christian Aid has sent £50,000 of support to their partners in the Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts of North East Assam to address the sanitation, fresh water, and hygiene needs of 131 villages.

The charity has also received €300,000 from the European Commission – Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to continue providing humanitarian assistance for the next six months.

Assam is an area which is troubled by fighting between ethnic groups, which has also caused people to flee their homes on top of the flooding.

Ram Kishan, Christian Aid’s regional emergency manager for South Asia, said: ”Flooding began again last week with a majority of rivers and tributaries flowing over the danger mark on Sunday.

“This has added to the already existing human agony caused by the on-going ethnic conflict situation which has forced communities to flee to relief camps across the state.”
Many of the millions who had returned to Assam after fleeing the floods in July, which killed more than 70 people, have been forced to flee once again.

Christian Aid partners in the region, the Rural Volunteers Centre (RVC) and Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development (SEEDS), have been distributing hygiene and water testing kits, whilst also repairing and building community latrines and installing hand pumps.

The work of both these organisations will help approximately 48,000 people.
Moreover, Ram Kishan said: “Christian Aid is also providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict through local partner CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action), reaching out to 1,500 families from the 25 worst affected villages now residing in relief camps.

“Some £30,000 has been released to provide food, water, sanitation support and essential non-food items.”

Tearfund have also been able to respond to the crisis through their local partner organization the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) who already had strong links with the local community.

EFICOR’s knowledge of the local community meant that they were able to prepare local people for action by building flood defenses and setting up savings groups to help with their recovery.

Tearfund’s head of humanitarian support Oenone Chadburn said: “Our prayers are with the people who live in Assam, and with the two million people who have been left homeless by the floods.

“We pray that our partners would be able to reach everyone affected and work quickly and effectively to help rebuild the lives of the most vulnerable people."