Floods wreak havoc in south Asia
A humanitarian crisis is unfolding across parts of south Asia with 16 million people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh affected by monsoon floods.
Floods have swamped one third of Nepal following the worst monsoon rainfall in fifteen years. See the grim statistics in the image on the left. Now an estimated 5 million people have to manage as best they can after losing loved ones and homes to floods and landslides, their crops destroyed. You can’t fail to be moved by the harrowing pictures in this report of how a father unable to bury his child just released the child’s body into the flooded river.
A “one-door” policy
There was an added risk of this natural disaster being compounded by a manmade element when the Government of Nepal announced a “one-door” policy. This meant that all relief work would have to be channelled through a central body. This is fine in principle (to avoid inefficiency and duplication of effort) but the Government attempted this approach previously after the 2015 earthquakes and it failed badly. Such a strategy only delays essential emergency relief getting to the point of need due to red tape. Moreover it only serves to antagonise (or criminalise) those genuine individuals and NGOs that do respond with a sense of urgency. The legacy of a “one-door” policy is a long and painful one. Two years down the line an Asia Foundation survey has found that earthquake recovery work has been painfully slow.
Happily the Nepal Supreme Court has now instructed the Government not to implement this policy and relief supplies can now flow.
How can a small children’s charity like ChoraChori respond in a meaningful way to a disaster of this scale? First of all we can’t not respond given the scale of the crisis. And we have always prided ourselves in being a “can-do” charity. Whilst we can’t reach out to five million people we can certainly focus our efforts on village areas that we know well. These are communities in the south to whom we have returned children rescued from India. The ChoraChori-Nepal Operational Director, Shailaja CM, is currently making a needs assessment and this morning we transferred our first grant across to Nepal to begin to address the hardship she has identified.
The floods are now receding somewhat but the landscape has been lain waste and families left vulnerable with lack of shelter, food and water. There have already been reports of outbreaks of disease. We suspect that the worst is yet to come. Please help ChoraChori to deliver resources to the flood victims and desperate children before it’s too late using the button below.
A further report to follow.