11 July 2013
Christian Aid press officer, Melanie Smith, blogs from northern India as she follows aid vehicles trying to reach mountain villages affected by the floods.
Since the disaster struck, more than a thousand roads have been destroyed.
The national highway has crumbled into the river, landslides and fallen trees have blocked the state highways, and winding, single-track roads that cling to the mountain’s edge have become a slippery, muddy hazard.
Photo: Christian Aid/Sarah Filbey Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand
Recently we followed our partner SEEDS’s distribution truck as it made its way high into the hills to deliver tents to those whose homes have been destroyed.
A journey that should have taken two-and-a-half hours took us nearly eight.
Our first route was blocked by fallen debris, forcing us to take a 25-mile detour. When we eventually met the road we should have taken, the clay-like mud made our vehicle slip and slide all over the road.
Intermittently, the trail of aid vehicles on this route - the only road into the mountains - came to a halt as a vehicle became stuck.
Trucks carrying emergency supplies struggled to move into the hills. It was a long process.
‘Inaccessibility is now one of the biggest problems.'
It was along this same stretch that rescued pilgrims were taken to safety a week ago.
The unpredictable weather and crumbling roads prove how difficult it is to respond to this type of disaster.
Inaccessibility is now one of the biggest problems. As a result, there is a shortage of essential supplies, with food being the most immediate need for people who remain isolated.
Over a hundred bridges have collapsed, leaving communities unreachable, while damaged roads mean food supplies just can’t be delivered to those in severe need.
People have told me that this disaster could take months, even years, to overcome.
The rains have started again here and as they continue to fall, I feel certain that this is just the beginning of a disaster that will haunt India for years to come.
But, as our partner organisations SEEDS, CASA and IGSS continue their efforts, their dedication to reach those most in need surpasses any reasonable expectation. They are working tirelessly to overcome the ongoing challenges.