21 AUG 2018
Disastrous Kerala floods causes devastating damage and displaces 220,000 people Oxfam rushes life-saving aid to affected areas and launches urgent appeal
Oxfam Hong Kong has launched a public appeal to respond to the worst flood the southern Indian state Kerala has seen in a century. Oxfam India is transporting relief items to affected areas in Idukki and Wayanad, and will distribute them on 22 August 2018 (Wednesday). The main focus of the response is to provide clean drinking water, food, temporary shelters, hygiene kits and latrines to survivors. We will also support the cleaning and removal of debris to prevent the outbreak of diseases.
The Kerala floods have affected more than 1 million people, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and out of water and food, and claimed the lives of over 370 people to date. Over 225,000 people have been displaced and have sought refuge in over 1,500 relief camps.
Following a rapid assessment of the situation, Oxfam India is preparing to respond in Idduki and Wayanad district initially, and will scale up the response to cover Alappuzha, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta.
Pankaj Anand, Oxfam India's Director of Programs and Humanitarian Response said: ‘We will put our experience and expertise on water, hygiene and sanitation into action in Kerala. Oxfam will be providing safe drinking water and toilets, as well as supporting village cleaning drives and debris removal to prevent the outbreak of disease. We will also be providing temporary shelters, food and hygiene supplies. The personal hygiene of women and girls will be a priority and we are preparing for the large-scale distribution of “dignity kits”.’
Floods and landslides have caused massive destruction. Houses in most districts are submerged and inaccessible, crops are damaged and livestock have been killed. People are running out of food and clean water, and making desperate appeals for help through social media and other channels.
Conditions remain challenging for the emergency response – the airport is closed, public transport systems have been suspended, phone towers are broken, and the power-supply is out. Oxfam is working with the Indian government, local partners and other agencies on coordinated efforts to help those in need.
Amitabh Behar, Oxfam India CEO, said: ‘The rising death toll is disastrous. The situation is grim but the scale of the tragedy will not be clear until affected areas become more accessible. While rescue and relief are the priority in the short term, the enormity of this catastrophe means ongoing support will be needed with recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
‘Multiple agencies must come together to provide relief. The international community will need to back the efforts that the Indian government and people are making in response to this unprecedented crisis.’
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Oxfam is a worldwide development organisation that mobilises the power of people against poverty.
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