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Naureen Khan & Humanitarian Team, Oxfam India
“People fled their homes as the water level suddenly rose. Within a matter of hours, Leena, our three year old daughter had to be carried on her father’s shoulder because the water had crossed her height and she was drowning.”
30-year-old, Jyoti Saikia struggled to survive when the floods hit her village in Jorhat district, Assam. The water had stagnated inside her mud and bamboo hut. With floods came diseases but Jyoti like many other families did not know how to prevent it.
“There were no toilets. We had to take care of our business outside. And as the water was polluted, people started to fall sick.”
Coming across a makeshift relief camp, Jyoti and her family found sanctuary that became their home for the next couple of weeks.
Oxfam India arrived at the temporary shelters to carry out an initial assessment of the most pressing needs that had be catered for, and in a very short space of time everybody including Jyoti was provided with a hygiene kit that included, buckets, soaps, blankets, ORS (oral rehydration salts), water purification tablets and many other essential items.
“I have learnt many new things through the hygiene awareness sessions with Oxfam’s Public Health Promoters; I now understand the proper hand-washing techniques and proper water storage that will help prevent us from becoming sick”.
Upon returning to their village, Jyoti found that the roof of her home had collapsed and a part of the walls made from bamboo and mud had melted and drifted away. The damage to their hut meant that they were exposed to severe weather conditions and insects such as mosquitos. As reconstruction of their shelter would incur large expenses, Jyoti was compelled to compromise on repairing their shelters in terms of quantity and quality in the short-term.
Jyoti found the tarpaulin and groundsheets in Oxfam’s shelter kit very useful for shielding her daughter from the erratic weather outside. It also gave them a dry space to lie down at night, till they were able to fix their bed. Jyoti is very appreciative of the blankets, bed sheets and mosquito nets received from Oxfam. She feels the solar lamp is the most useful item in the kit.
“The solar lamp from Oxfam helped us tremendously especially when we returned to our homes which was dark and sludgy. Nowadays, I use it to keep an eye on Leena at all times so I know that my daughter is safe."
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