Severe flooding has struck Bangladesh and northeast India, claiming over 150 lives and destroying farms and homes. Around two million people have been displaced as monsoon rains and the overflowing Brahmaputra river have swallowed up crops, livestock, grain reserves, and more. Around 2084 villages are cut off and marooned in water
In both countries, Caritas teams have visited the victims and started relief operations. In Bangladesh, Caritas has started feeding flood-affected families and plans to increase its food distribution programmes.
In India, Caritas is focusing on protecting flood victims’ health. Near marooned villages in the block of Soothea falling within the worst affected district of Sonitpur, Caritas India’s assessment team saw filthy water and animal carcasses floating.
“With no drinking water, people had no other option but to drink floodwater,” says Babita Alick, Team Leader for Disaster Management. Alick is concerned about the condition of families in relief camps. “With people and livestock living together, lack of mats to sleep, mosquitoes hovering, lack of functional toilets, open defecation and living with wounds/bruises or other health ailments, medical assistance is crucial.”
Working with the Tezpur Social Service Society, Caritas India is setting up medical camps in Soothea block of Sonitpur district. The first two camps have been organized in schools, with Caritas mobilizing doctors and nurses from a local Catholic hospital. Caritas India is also readying water purification items, antiseptics, oral rehydration salts, and nutritional biscuits to be distributed at the medical camps.
“The monsoon ordeal has begun, and this year it is particularly devastating,” says Alick. “We’re grateful for the support and cooperation of Caritas worldwide as we respond to families in need.”