Last September, several States across India were badly hit by the floods that caused serious losses to life, properties and have left millions of people affected. The heavy rains wreaked havoc in several North and North-eastern states of India like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Assam. Major rivers in these States have breached banks, inundated new areas and displaced thousands of people. Hundreds of huts were washed away, and buildings, roads, and crops worth of billions were damaged. Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes and have taken shelter in school buildings and other public building situated in high lands.

In Bihar, according to government reports, the flood has affected 21 districts owing to overflowing rivers from Nepal, breaching the embankment at various places. 514 deaths were reported among the 171 lakhs of people affected. The accompanying monsoon rains have aggravated the situation and caused widespread damage to lives and property of the poorest states in India particularly Bihar where 32% of the population live below the poverty line, and the 3rd highest in India. (Cf. NITI Ayog)

The main concern was the impact of floods on the socially excluded and economically impoverished communities like scheduled castes (Dalits), and Muslims. Among them, the women, children, and persons with disability were even more vulnerable.

Caritas - India’s presence and assessment in flood-affected regions of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar show that these communities have not received adequate assistance from government response.

The CTF and Caritas had decided to respond to the disaster and mobilize human and financial resources in 6 identified districts of Bihar. They decided to support six districts with basic medical support by containing communicable diseases (water-borne diseases) through various medical camps.

The first camp was initiated on September 4 and ended on September 20. CTF has conducted medical camps for 17 days in the different villages from the six districts. The group was composed of 46 members including doctors, paramedical staff and healthcare volunteers. They were divided into four teams. The teams have conducted a total of 28 medical camps delivering services to more than 12.000 survivors.

CTF along with Caritas and the Dioceses of Purnea and Bettiah will do some periodic assessment and follow-ups. Most probably, more medical camps will be conducted.