Drought disasters

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India: More than 100 million at risk

Low rainfall during the last two years has caused severe drought conditions in 11 Indian States. An estimated 130 million people - 15 percent of the population - in more than 70,000 villages and 230 urban centres are at risk. Apart from economic loss due to low agricultural production, loss of animal wealth, inadequate nutrition and primary health care, the impact of the drought is likely to retard the development process. The most severely affected States are Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

UNICEF is seeking US $3.575 million in funding in support of relief efforts to help an estimated population of 60 million people in the five worst affected states. Of these, approximately 9 million are children and 1.2 million are pregnant women.

The immediate short term measures include the trucking of water, the rehabilitation of wells and hand pumps, the purification of water sources, surface water storage, mobility support, water purification tablets, vitamin A, oral rehydration salts and hygiene education flyers.

The long-term strategy addresses household water security through the promotion of rooftop rainwater harvesting; the sustainability of community water sources through ground water recharge structures with user participation; and the environmental protection of these sources. Sanitation and hygiene education are also underway.

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