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Red Cross launches appeal to help those devastated by widespread flooding in Northern India

Wednesday September 10, 2008

Australian Red Cross has launched an appeal to send two highly trained aid workers and equipment to provide clean, safe drinking water to some of the people affected by the devastating flooding in the Assam region of India.

At the invitation of the Indian Red Cross, Australian aid worker Supriya Mehta and water and sanitation expert Paul Byleveld will leave for India within the next couple of days, but according to Supriya Mehta, they are not yet sure exactly which district in Assam they'll be heading for.

More than 3.4 million people have been displaced by floodwaters in the Bihar region over the past few weeks, a region not usually prone to this kind of disaster. But while the situation is slowly starting to improve in Bihar, there are ominous signs in the neighbouring region of Assam.

'There are many villages right along the flooded banks of the Brahmaputra River in Assam and we won't know until we arrive in the region, where we'll set up our water and sanitation unit,' said Supriya.

'What we do know is that there are over one million people who need help in Assam alone, a large number of whom are living in camps for displaced persons.

'There's also heavy rain forecast over the next few days, so the situation is extremely serious.'

Once on the ground, the Australian Red Cross water and sanitation unit can be operating within an hour. The water module is highly portable -- it fits on a small vehicle or boat. It's also flexible -- it can provide up to 45,000 litres of water per day in one location, or can provide thousands of litres per day in several different locations.

These modules have helped thousands of people in Papua New Guinea in late 2007, and one of our modules is currently operating in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady Delta in May 2008.

To make a donation to the India Floods Appeal:

  • Make a secure online donation
  • Call 1800 811 700
  • Send a cheque or money order marked 'India Floods Appeal 2008' to: GPO Box 2957 Melbourne VIC 8060

Donations to the India Floods Appeal 2008 will be used to:
  • send specialist aid workers and water and sanitation equipment to assist in the Indian Red Cross response
  • support the relief and recovery needs of households and communities in India affected by the floods, including the immediate need for clean water and sanitation
  • assist the Red Cross Society of India to prepare and respond to this and future emergencies

Australian Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of any donation for an international appeal to cover appeal costs. Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer term needs of the people in the affected areas, Australian Red Cross will direct the excess funds to other emergency preparedness and response initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.