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Jul 13, 2018

Stories from the ground: Oxfam India’s response to floods 2018

Naureen Khan, Oxfam India

Lakhs of lives have been affected due to the floods in the North East. With no food or clean water to drink, people are struggling to survive. People in relief camps are facing the risk of water-borne diseases due to the stagnant flood water and consumption of flood water which is the only source. Oxfam India is on the ground since June, providing urgent relief and sanitation facilities to flood-affected families. 

Read below the few stories among the 2,400 families in Assam, Manipur and Tripura that Oxfam India has helped in the past month.

1. 25-years-old, Preeti Nobi* had seen the flood wash everything in front of her own eyes. Her husband and children had to move to a higher land near the road to save themselves. Nobi along with other villagers took shelter in the relief camp near their village in Manipur. With no food, clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, her family struggled for days.  Her children also developed cough, cold, skin infection and fever.
Oxfam India has provided emergency shelter support, dry food ration and hygiene kits to families in the relief camp. Along with the shelter and hygiene kits, Oxfam also constructed temporary toilets near the relief camp to ensure safe sanitation. 

2. Sunibabu* is 66-years-old and his wife is 63. They had to leave their home when flood water started to engulf their house. With no basic amenities, Sunibabu and his wife struggled to survive. Oxfam India’s team provided them with basic utility materials for safe shelter and drinking water. Oxfam’s shelter kit contains tarpaulin, groundsheet and mosquito net. The kit was helpful to keep them warm and dry. The mosquito net protected them from vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue which are common after the floods. 

3. 35-year-old Hema Devi* saw the flood water submerge her home, clothes, food grain and all her belongings in Manipur. She along with some of the villagers took shelter in the relief camp. Survivors faced the risk of epidemic outbreaks, lack of sleep, food supplies and sanitation facilities.
Hema with other families received Oxfam’s shelter and hygiene kits which helped them fulfil their urgent needs. "We received tarpaulin, ground sheet and mosquito net in the shelter kit which was very useful as we had sleepless nights because of the mosquitoes and lack of dry space. We also received hygiene materials including two buckets with covers. The hygiene kit included materials like washing and bathing soap, sanitary clothes, antiseptic etc along with NADCC tablet. The tablet was very useful for treating drinking water as flood water was not fit for drinking.”

4. After floods hit 50-year-old Rakhi’s* house in Assam, she was forced to move to an overcrowded relief camp with her family with no provision of sanitation facilities. Many people in the camp had fallen sick due to unhygienic conditions like open defecation, consumption of flood water for cooking, drinking and cleaning. Apart from providing hygiene and shelter kits to families in the relief camps, Oxfam India was able to build transitional toilets near the relief camps.My daughters felt unsafe travelling to an isolated area at night to defecate in the open but I’m extremely thankful to Oxfam for installing these toilets for women. We now feel safe and secure,” says Rakhi.

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*Names changed to protect the identity


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