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AmeriCares Responds to South Asia Floods

  • August 24, 2007
   PHOTO: Tom Turley in India

After dispatching emergency response personnel to India and Bangladesh, which were ravaged by weeks of monsoon flooding, AmeriCares coordinated efforts to deliver life-saving relief to help some of the millions of people who are displaced and suffering. 

In India, where the need was great for medical relief, AmeriCares received basic medicines and supplies from several local pharmaceutical companies and worked with three partners to distribute the aid to hospitals and clinics in the affected region.

 “People are very concerned about the health issues that will arise after the monsoons, such as potential cholera or gastroenteritis epidemics,” said Tom Turley, who was in India for AmeriCares determining the needs of the people affected.  Through its local nongovernmental partners, AmeriCares delivered water purification tablets as well as anti-infectives, analgesics and gastrointestinal therapies.

 PHOTO: Jonathan Hodgdon in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, most flood-affected districts reported sufficient dry food rations and medicines but requested water purification tablets.  AmeriCares responded by providing enough water purification product to make at least three million liters of clean water.

“I saw rows of displaced families living in temporary sheds on roadside embankments and large sections of roads and bridges were missing,” reported Jonathan Hodgdon, AmeriCaresemergency response manager who was in Bangladesh.  “I did, however witness many families returning home as all the major rivers had receded from their peak levels in July.”

More than 2,000 people across four countries have died in the most recent period of flooding, and it is estimated that 20 million others remain displaced and homeless.  Flooding is an annual event throughout South Asia but the recent monsoons are the worst in more than a decade, bringing misery and an elevated risk of disease across the region. 

AmeriCares has a long history of responding to emergencies in South Asia, working with local organizations in India for the past 15 years, and in Bangladesh since 2002. During the deadly monsoon season in India in 2005, AmeriCares delivered more than $14 million in relief shipments, including critically needed antibiotics, water purification treatments and other aid.