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India floods: thousands stranded as villages washed away

Villages have been completely washed away. Homes are flattened, invaluable possessions ruined. Nothing remains.

The flood waters that hit the northern state of Uttarkhand, have been named the ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ and have caused mass destruction.

At the time of writing, more than 560 people have been killed and an estimated 150,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, including 65,000 children.

Monsoon rains have come a month early in Uttarkhand, India.
Monsoon rains have come a month early in Uttarkhand, India.

In many cases, the floods hit in the middle of the night, catching people by surprise.

The heaviest rains for 60 years

This year’s monsoon rains came a month early; they are now believed to be the heaviest rains for 60 years.

Thousands of stranded families and children are in a desperate situation – without shelter, warm clothes or food.

Many children and pregnant women need urgent medical attention and we’ve already heard reports of a child dying from pneumonia because their family could not reach the hospital.

Help regaining livelihoods

The rivers and wells have been polluted with sewage and run-off debris – causing huge concern about the spread of disease.

Treating people – especially young children – quickly and effectively will be absolutely crucial to saving lives.

Beyond the immediate basic needs, families’ crops have been destroyed and their animals have drowned. Many will need help regaining their livelihoods.

Schools have been destroyed or washed away, interrupting children’s education at a traumatic time when they desperately need routine and familiarity.

A daunting task

In response, aid agencies and the government have reacted rapidly. Save the Children teams have already reached those affected and are urgently moving standby relief materials from our warehouse to the affected areas.

But the challenges are enormous. The flood waters and landslides have left many villages and populations stranded and inaccessible.

Clearing up the destruction and recovering from the devastation are daunting tasks even if the weather now subsides but alarmingly, our teams fear it may get even worse: further rains are forecast in the coming days.

Save the Children staff talk to the local community
Save the Children staff talk to the local community

We need your support

Luckily, Save the Children already works in 13 states across India.

After responding to the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and other floods of this kind across the country, we have significant previous experience and local knowledge, enabling us to respond quickly and effectively.

We know what to do – we just need your support.

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