India

New UNICEF video highlights flood crisis in India

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© UNICEF India/2004/Rahi
Children and women seek safety from the rising waters at a relief shelter.

ASSAM/BIHAR, India, 27 July 2004 – Nearly 30 million people have been affected by the severe floods in the Indian states of Assam and Bihar. Some 550 people have lost their lives.

As the floods continue, an increasing number of children are at risk from disease, drowning and snakebite as they wade through floodwaters with their families, in search of food, clean water and shelter. 

UNICEF State Representative for West Bengal and Assam Rudolph Schwenk was on the ground in Assam’s state capital of Guwahati to assess the situation.

“Every year Assam is affected by floods, but this year…it is really serious. Twenty-seven out of 27 districts have been affected. We went to one of the districts and we saw the devastation, we saw families that had to flee their homes who are now on embankments and who have had to seek refugee in shelters,” said Mr. Schwenk.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF India/2004/Rahi
UNICEF State Representative for West Bengal and Assam Rudolph Schwenk visits flooded areas of Assam

One major concern for humanitarian and government officials is the lack of clean drinking water.  Mr. Schwenk said that on his visit to relief camps, he saw UNICEF supplies being used to purify water. “We have to make sure people have access to safe water, which is very important in circumstances such as these.”

UNICEF is currently procuring and providing relief items for India, Nepal and Bangladesh, which have all been hit by floods this year. The supplies include bleaching tablets, water purification tablets, food for young children (high protein energy biscuits), oral rehydration salts (for treating diarrhoea by replenishing essential fluids and minerals), water-proof tarpaulins, and sanitary facilities for the shelters in the region.

As the floods continue in Assam and Bihar, and other parts of South Asia, UNICEF and its partners continue to reach out to the vulnerable populations in the region, while children and their families wait on rooftops and at relief stations for the water levels to go down.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Video

UNICEF India Country Office documents the severity of the floods in the Indian states of Bihar and Assam during 2004 monsoon season. Directed by Ajay Kanchan. Produced by the UNICEF India Country Office.

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Audio

23 July 2004: UNICEF State Representative for West Bengal and Assam Rudolph Schwenk speaks to UNICEF's Maya Dollarhide about his recent visit to flooded areas in Assam.

Audio clip ([mp3]; right-click to download)

Video

20 July 2004: UNICEF's Maya Dollarhide reports on the children struggling to survive the severe flooding sweeping across South Asia.

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