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Emergency Teams Bring Essential Health Services to Families in India Floods

  • January 14, 2016
  • Emergency Programs, Asia and Eurasia

AmeriCares emergency response and medical teams have been at work with local partners in the state of Tamil Nadu since Dec. 7, providing basic health services to families displaced by the worst flooding in 100 years.

In 154 medical camps, the India medical team and its partners have treated more than 28,000 patients in four districts in Tamil Nadu state: Chennai, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore. The focus is on ensuring that families displaced by the floods have access to essential primary care services, including basic medicines.

After the initial shipments of medical and relief supplies, AmeriCares delivered 50,000 doses of tetanus vaccine, both to protect residents returning to their homes and others involved in cleanup activities, to the Government of Tamil Nadu. In addition, 15,000 units of IV fluids have been shipped for distribution by the state. The team is also providing water purification tablets and jerry cans in areas that lack access to clean water along with health and hygiene products that will help prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Additional shipments of medicines and other relief aid are being prepared, including basic items that families will need to restart their lives. Temporary office and warehousing space has been established through a local partner to manage the relief and recovery efforts.

“Cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other waterborne diseases are a major concern,” said Shripad Desai, managing director of AmeriCares India. “We will help ensure families affected have access to medical care and safe drinking water to help prevent the spread of infectious disease.”

Torrential rainfall in Tamil Nadu in recent weeks has caused massive flooding in four districts. Current reports estimate that nearly 500 people have died and 1.8 million have been forced from their homes.

The India team is coordinating relief efforts with the local government, Inter-Agency Group and several local partners. AmeriCares India has committed to reaching thousands of families with relief aid and supporting long-term recovery efforts, including rebuilding health care infrastructure.

Once immediate health and shelter needs are addressed, AmeriCares plans to support recovery efforts by restoring access to health care, providing mental health and psychosocial services, repairing and upgrading damaged health facilities including the replacement of medical equipment and supplies.

AmeriCares India, based in Mumbai, provides emergency medical and humanitarian aid in response to floods, cyclones, earthquakes and other disasters. Most recently, the AmeriCares India team responded to the Nepal Earthquake, the 2014 flooding in Jammu and Kashmir and the 2013 flooding in Uttarakhand. AmeriCares India also provides health education, supports health workforce safety programs and operates seven mobile medical clinics that provide free primary care services at 130 locations throughout the slums of Mumbai.

“We will help ensure families affected have access to medical care and safe drinking water to help prevent the spread of infectious disease.” 

Shripad Desai, managing director of AmeriCares India.