Assam facing deepening humanitarian crisis

Published: 31st August 2012

The people of Assam are facing two disasters, creating one of the worst humanitarian crises in the last decade. The most severe floods in the past 14 years have affected around two million people across 27 districts of Assam, while ethnic tensions have displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

“Oxfam is appealing for help to provide effective relief in some of the badly affected camps in Assam. The situation is very grim and is worsening. We are asking the international community as well as corporate organizations, institutions, funding agencies, public and mass media for mobilizing resources to meet this humanitarian funding," said Nisha Agrawal Oxfam India Chief Executive Officer.

Donate to Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Assam floods

In the UK, please donate here

While people in Assam are coping with the effects of the flooding, 80 people have died in ethnic tensions there, forcing hundreds of thousands of residents to flee their homes. But the situation in the camps where many people have fled to is alarming. There is a clear need for water, sanitation and hygiene at the camps, with reports of around 20,000 cases of diarrhea.

Around 15,000 people in one camp only have access to six latrines and three hand pumps for water. People are defecating in the open and there is a clear demand for more drinking water and water for cooking. There is also a demand for private spaces for women to bathe. In another large camp in Assam with around 13,000 people, there are three latrines and six hand pumps, people are consuming water from the nearby pond and there are also defecating in the open.

Emergency shelter is needed, especially as more vulnerable people head to the camps, which are already over populated. Many are having to stay in schools, primary health and community centers, and as these are becoming full, large volumes of plastic sheeting are required to help with shelter and cover the growing need.

What is Oxfam India doing to help people?

Oxfam India has initiated a three-month program targeting 4,500 households (around 30,000 people) - 2,500 households to be covered in Kokrajhar district and 2,000 households in Chirang district. The response includes:

  • Providing safe water in the camps through water storage and distribution system in coordination with government Public Health Engineering department, distribution of water treatment tablets, water storage containers etc.
  • Providing safe sanitation facilities in the camps includes setting up and maintaining temporary latrines and bathing cubicles for women and girls for hygiene and privacy.
  • Camp environment cleaning and public health promotions in the camps to prevent disease outbreaks.
  • Providing emergency shelter (tarpaulin, ground sheet/mats, mosquito nets) to the most vulnerable households.
Oxfam is appealing for help to provide effective relief in some of the badly affected camps in Assam. The situation is very grim and is worsening.
Nisha Agrawal
Chief Executive Officer, Oxfam India

Notes to editors

Photos of Oxfam India's humanitarian response to the floods

Donate to Oxfam's humanitarian response to the Assam floods

People are in urgent need of help, please consider helping those affected by floods and ethnic tensions in Assam.

£5 can give one farming family one month's seeds and vouchers
£7 can give one hand pump repair kit
£20 can provide a hygiene kit for one family
£50 can treat the water for a whole village for two months (Oxfam is targeting up to 55 villages)

If you can only spare £5 and are in the UK ONLY you can also text DONATE5 to 70066.
Please note, number 5 after word DONATE. For UK phones only. This text donation only works with £5, to donate another amount, please visit the Oxfam India website.

(*Each text donates £5, SMS texts are charged at your standard network rates. Oxfam will receive around 97% depending on your network provider.)

Contact information

For more information please contact Jonaid Jilani on +44 (0)18 65 472193 or +44 (0)7810 181514 or or