Oxfam India issues appeal; scales up response to Bihar floods

Oxfam India issues appeal:

Scales up response to Bihar floods

Oxfam India issued an appeal on Monday (1 September 2008) for funds to support its rescue and relief work in flood-hit Bihar. The money will be spent on delivering emergency shelter, food, hygiene items, clean drinking water and safe sanitation.

Oxfam and its local partner organisations have been rescuing people and responding to the crisis since August 18, when waters rushed into six eastern districts of Bihar from a 3 Km breach in River Kosi on the Nepal-India border. The worsening floods, with more rains predicted by the meteorological department, have already affected over 30 lakh people in 16 north-eastern districts of Bihar. The Prime Minister has declared the floods a national catastrophe.

Oxfam is using its motorboats to rescue stranded men, women and children from Supaul, the worst affected district. Contingency stocks of tarpaulin shelter sheets, water purification kits, buckets and Oral Rehydration Sachets (ORS), kept in readiness in flood prone districts, have also been moved to provide preliminary support to the affected. Staffers from Oxfam and two local organisations, Bihar Sewa Samiti and Abhigyan Disha, as well as trained volunteers, are working round the clock in Supaul.

“Oxfam is preparing to reach out, to being with atleast 20,000 families in Basantpur and Pratapganj, two of the worst affected blocks of Supaul,” said Nisha Agrawal, CEO, Oxfam India. “We are scaling up our response on temporary shelter, food, water and sanitation. Women and children are particularly facing the brunt in cramped camps or are exposed to heat and the rains under the open sky. Pregnant and lactating mothers are not getting safe water and are forced to defecate in floodwaters. The need for hygiene and sanitation is imminent to prevent the spread of any water-borne epidemic.”

Oxfam rapid assessment team toured the worst affected areas in the first few days and has recommended shelter, food and public health as the key needs. Oxfam is also coordinating from the start with other aid agencies and the government through the state-level Inter-Agency Coordination Group to ensure there is no duplication in response and that relief reaches all the needy people.

The public can donate to Oxfam by calling in on +91 11 46538000 or by sending a check in the name of Oxfam Trust, addressed to Oxfam India, Plot Number 1, 2nd Floor(above Sujan Mohinder Hospital), New Friends Colony, New Delhi – 110065 (www.oxfam.org).

A donation of Rs 2000 would give a shelter kit for a family; Rs 850 would give a hygiene kit for 5 families; and Rs 1000 would give a safe latrine to 2 families.

For further information and to make a donation please contact:
Pamela Srivastava( for donations) : 0091-11-465380000(extension 118)
Aditi Kapoor (for media enquiries): 0091-11-465380000, 9810306200
or aditi@oxfamindia.org; akapoor@oxfam.org.uk

Notes to editors:
Oxfam India is an Indian organisation with an Indian Board and is part of the larger Oxfam International family (www.oxfam.org). Oxfam has been working in India since the 1952 famine in Bihar and also undertakes long-term development work. Oxfam believes in equality and justice for all and works by empowering communities to fight for their rights.