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India floods

January 2011

India floods

In August 2010, Christian Aid launched an emergency appeal to assist hundreds of thousands whose homes were washed away by severe floods in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state.

We sent £50,000 to our partners Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and Poorvanchal Gramin Vikas Sansthan (PGVS) to assist them in their response.

Severe flooding

More than 800,000 people’s homes were submerged in more than 1,500 villages in 21 districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh at the end of August. Thousands of homes were lost and crops and livelihoods destroyed.

In Barabanki and Ghonda districts, flash floods washed away the homes and livelihoods of up to 250,000 people across 153 villages when heavy rains caused the river Ghaghara to swell and burst its banks on 28 August.

Thousands like Mangal, a 40 year old disabled man from Baruha Bans Gaon village, were concerned about how they would survive the flooding.

‘My whole family are almost starving out here because of the floods,’ said Mangal. 

The fifteen members of his extended family had to survive 20 pence a day from selling a litre of milk from their cow.

‘This is the worst flooding I have ever witnessed here,’ says Mangal.

View India floods photogallery

While eastern Uttar Pradesh is prone to annual waterlogging during the monsoon season, this year rainfall has been unusually heavy upstream in Nepal causing unexpectedly severe flooding downstream in India.

Uttar Pradesh is India’s poorest and most populous state. For the 40% of its 190 million population who live in extreme poverty, floods like this mean disaster and devastation as they do not have the resources or assets to cope with such extreme events.

Government response

Christian Aid staff and partners at the time reported that although state government efforts to evacuate many communities was generally effective, it failed to provide any significant assistance to hundreds of thousands in need, especially those living in remote areas.

There was little media attention of the disaster both in India and abroad which limited the ability of international non-governmental organisations  to mobilise the scale of response that was needed.

Partners responded

Christian Aid’s local partners acted immediately and with funds from Christian Aid, delivered food, shelter, water and other relief supplies to 18,000 people.

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