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Oxfam India is preparing emergency relief and assistance for people affected by one of the worst floods in the history of Kerala. The floods have affected more then one million people, left hundreds of thousands homeless and claimed the lives of 324 people to date.
Following a rapid assessment of the situation Oxfam India is preparing to respond in Idduki and Wayanad district initially - and then scaling up 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 stranded, 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:
“We are concerned about the rising death toll. 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 on-going 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 India government and people are making in response to this unprecedented crisis,” added Behar.
Notes to editors
Spokespeople available for interview from Delhi and Kerala. Footage and pictures also available.
Himanshi Matta, Media Coordinator, Oxfam India: firstname.lastname@example.org, +91 8860182310