About the same time that Britain was hit by unusually heavy rains with resulting floods, it started raining in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Millions of people are now suffering from the unusually heavy rains and flooding in these areas.
HWW has been in touch with Manasi Samaddar who works in the North of Bihar, based in Dumra, in Sitamarhi District near the border with Nepal. There is flooding every year in this part of India but this year it has been worse than usual.
In Sitarmarhi District alone over one million people have been affected. They have lost their homes, possessions, livestock and crops. At the time of writing, the rains have stopped but there is water everywhere. People are trying to survive and with dirty water everywhere, there is a serious danger of disease.
Government and groups like Oxfam have made available some food and materials. But there is no funding for relief workers. Adithi is working with a team of eighty volunteers to do what they can to help people.
Market prices have risen dramatically because of the shortage of vegetables. Potatoes for example cost 40 rupees instead of the usual 8 rupees per kilo. Government has made available wheat and rice. However, most people have no fuel or way to cook, so other forms of ready to eat food are needed. Adithi has allocated some people to lobby the state government for appropriate relief.
There have been some donations of relief materials. The Adithi team is distributing these: food, clothes, hygiene packs with soap and sanitary napkins, water purification tablets and tarpaulins for shelter.
At the same time, they are trying to raise awareness among people about the dangers of disease and the need to avoid drinking dirty water. The main dangers are from diarrhoea, kalazar and other water-born diseases.
Adithi’s work in Sitamarhi at the best of times is with some of the poorest people in India, particularly women. At times of disaster like this year’s floods, people need support in organising themselves to avoid any further problems and to take advantage of whatever relief is available, as well as for the distribution of relief goods.
Adithi is currently the only NGO working in two blocks - Belsand and Bajpapti, and is working with others in a third block.
Money is urgently needed to help the relief effort. Any donations will be sent directly to Adithi for direct use with the people most in need. We will try and keep you updated about the situation there and the use made of any donations.
HWW has been working with Adithi since 1998 particularly around homebased workers. Adithi was founded in 1988 by Viji Srinivasan and now reaches out to over 200, 000 of the poorest women and girls in Bihar and Jharkand. For more information contact the HWW office.