David Bloomer is just back from a field trip to Andhra Pradesh. He went there to make an assessment of the big flood that’s affecting 1.6 millions Indians and how it’s impacting children. He asked me to dedicate a post to what he’d seen. I was doing something else and didn’t know how soon I could get to it. “Its an emergency,” he said. “To the front of the queue, please.”
He’s right. It IS an emergency. Except that the media seems to have forgotten about it. New and “more” interesting stories have been filling the news for a while now. In the Asia office where I work, the floods in India are only one of the many emergencies we’ve seen the last few weeks – Indonesia, Vietnam, American Samoa, the Phillipines. I was guilty of forgetting a little bit, too.
David’s the only one of us in the office who has actually met the children who have been forced to live in schools and churches for the last week in Andhra Pradesh with no home to go back to. Should he, or I, or the few of us in the office, be the only ones that care about those kids? Of course not. We all should. And, our response has got to be organised, timely and sufficient.
David saw dry rations being left by others in what he calls “arbitrary” locations. Arbitrary. That’s probably a David-ism for “Stupid, because they will all get wet.” But, I guess he knows that people are just trying to help. Better co-ordination at this crucial stage of the disaster – when flood waters have receded and agencies are trying to respond – will make all the difference.
Save the Children in India is urgently looking for some money with which to scale up our response to the floods. Anyone who thinks they can help should text SAVE AP 55050 from India, or call + 91 11 422294900 from anywhere in the world and ask for direct marketing. You can also visit www.savethechildren.in David saw kids who work in mines, the tobacco industry, on cotton farms and at contruction sites. He wants to make sure that our interventions cover not only food, water and health activities but also education, safe play and anti-trafficking measures.
David ‘s really a ‘protection’ rather than an ’emergencies’ guy. In fact, get him started on the subject of child protection, and he’s likely to chew your ear off!! He recently started a blog – and you can catch him ranting a little on it. David was ‘borrowed’ by the emergencies team to go off on this assessment. That’s a fantastic example of how we all need to be working together on this emergency.
David put his regular work aside for a little bit, to help out. I’ve posted this blog as soon as I possibly could.
What are you going to do?