Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 25;
Children are the most affected in floods in Odisha where 36 lakh people have been displaced, ‘Save the Children’, the international agency working to ensure a better childhood has said.
“The risks are mounting for children in the affected areas with the scaling up of the flood situation due to continuing spells of rainfall,” informed Thomas Chandy, Save the Children’s CEO. He highlighted that Save the Children would focus on supporting state governments and other NGOs to provide health and protection services for the worst-affected children and their families. “It’s sad that a child-centred response is completely lacking in all flood-affected states despite the recurring natural disasters which have shown that children are always the worst-affected,” added Chandy.
With heavy rainfall on 21 July and further intensification of rain as a result of two more low-pressure systems that moved over Odisha, the flood situation was exacerbated by subsequent release of water from the Hirakud Reservoir: 23 districts out of 30 face severe flood with water inundation. The floods have resulted in a death toll of 47. In comparison, the death toll following Cyclone Phailin, which hit Odisha about a year ago, on 12 October 2013, and resultant floods was 44.
A consortium led by Save the Children, including CARE, TDH and Handicap International has been actively engaged in rebuilding lives after Cyclone Phailin in Kendrapada and Puri districts. However, the recent floods just after 10 months of the cyclone, inundating the whole geography have been a setback for development agencies to reach out to people and continue their work.
Save the Children had already supported 1,000 families with livelihood support, including agricultural seeds, fertilizers etc. About 80 per cent of these families which were hopeful to have a crop yield this year after last year’s loss have been again hit by a total loss of agriculture, especially in the Balasore district of Odisha.
The children who were gaining confidence and gathering themselves to continue with their studies had to be shifted to nearby villages/relatives’ homes with schools shut and Aanganwadi services stopped.
In its response to the floods, Save the Children conducted relief distribution in Odisha last week and has a target to reach 5,000 families. It has also completed assessments in Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal — where relief material for distribution is being moved from its warehouse in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Save the Children’s ambition is to reach at least 10,000 households including 30,000 children.