South Asia floods: “Everything was swept away”

CARE relief supplies awaiting distribution in Nepal

Flood waters sweeping through Nepal, India, and Bangladesh have affected up to 16 million people, with many people forced from their homes and taking refuge on rooftops or higher ground. In Bangladesh, CARE’s country director Zia Choudhury said:

The country’s situation is unprecedented, perhaps the worst in over 100 years. Food, safe drinking water and medicine have become critical needs.

CARE is assisting affected people in all three countries with relief supplies – food, water, shelter materials, hygiene kits and household supplies – already being dispatched to areas where people have sought shelter and safety.

In India, CARE is undertaking a rapid assessment and distributing food supplies in some of the worst affected districts in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar. All these districts are severely affected and are areas where CARE has programmes. CARE India CEO Rajan Bahadur said:

Initial assesment reveals huge loss of shelter, crops, livestock and public infrastructure including transport.

He added: “We will be responding with shelter and water and sanitation supplies in the affected areas. There is a specific need of dignity items, for example clothes for women and adolescents as household goods have been washed away. There is also urgent need of sanitary items for women, and lactating and pregnant women need proper care.”

Loading relief supplies into a lorry
Relief supplies being unloaded from a lorry in Nepal

In Nepal, CARE teams have started to distribute relief supplies and will be reaching over 5,600 people with critical food, household items, shelter materials and supplies for mothers of new-born babies in the coming days.

Binod Chaudhary, a member of a badly-affected community in Bhajani municipality in Kailali district, told us:

We were neck deep in the water in our village and we have not much to eat at the moment. We can resist hunger but our children cannot.

Binod Chaudhary
Binod Chaudhary

“All the houses in our village were affected by the flood. My house too has been devastated.”

We tried to save some food, such as wheat and rice but they became all wet. I have kept it, hoping I can dry it.

“We have started cooking and dining together in the village as we are short of firewood. Life is really difficult with small children at home. Also there is no light in the village.”

Our major problems at the moment are the lack of food and water. We might survive without food but water is must.

Bhima Khatri and Tikarani Devi Chaudhary
Bhima Khatri (left) and Tikarani Devi Chaudhary (right)

Bhima Khatri, also from Bhajani municipality in Kailali, said:

“Not only did we lose food and firewood, but our harvests and everything that we had planted.”

When we get back to our homes, we don’t even have utensils for cooking. Everything was swept away by the flood.

Tikarani Devi Chaudhary said: “Everyone is facing problems but pregnant women, lactating mothers, elderly people, children are most affected. Mostly the lactating mothers and pregnant women are prone to be affected by the cold while staying in open spaces. Also there is a risk of diarrhoea.”

The lack of food is a problem as we couldn’t save anything from our houses. The water stood neck deep in our village and saving our lives was the priority for us.

Krishna Prasad Dhungana, Devi Prasad Neupane, Jitram Chaudhary
Krishna Prasad Dhungana (left) and Devi Prasad Neupane and Jitram Chaudhary (right)

Devi Prasad Neupane and Jitram Chaudhary have been taking the responsibility of cooking and feeding all people in the camp. They cook in big utensils on a common fire and the same food is shared among all people living in the camp. They said:

We don’t have any firewood to cook. The utensils from many households were also swept away by the flood. It was too difficult to save our belongings.

Krishna Prasad Dhungana added:

“In my view, mosquito nets need to be prioritised as relief supplies. As the evening approaches, the number of mosquitos increases.”

We are living in open spaces and close to these marshy area and flooded lands, and we are suffering from the mosquito bites.

“The children can’t go to sleep and cry at night because of the bites.”

Read more in our press statement on the South Asia floods.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.