Thousands of children and families have been left stranded in mountains by heavy monsoon rains that swept through the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, Save the Children has warned.
More than 150,000 people, almost half of them children, are thought to have been displaced by the flooding and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The aid agency says that relief efforts are entering a critical period before further heavy rains are forecast to hit the area.
Save the Children’s India Director of Programmes, Latha Caleb, said: “Thousands of children, pregnant women and old people are in desperate need of food and medical attention. Dozens of villages have been cut off by the floodwaters, and homes, livestock and possessions have been swept away. They are running out of food, and we know children are already dying because they can't reach medical help. The next 24 hours will be absolutely critical in getting aid in before more heavy rain arrives.”
The charity’s emergency teams are already on the ground, and have reached some of the most inaccessible areas. In the village of Karadhi they found 500 families sheltering in an dilapidated school building after their homes were swept away by the floods, including a family whose one year old girl had died of pneumonia because they could not reach medical help.
The floods struck as tens of thousands of people were making a pilgrimage to four holy sites in the area. The death toll currently stands at 500, but officials are expecting more deaths to be confirmed as access to the stricken area improves.
With fresh downpours expected, there is an urgent need for food, clean drinking water, blankets, medicines and warm clothes and proper shelter. Save the Children has declared an emergency response and has started delivering emergency supplies to the families reached by its teams, including buckets, mosquito nets and blankets.
Save the Children has spokespeople available for interviews. Please contact Devendra Tak at firstname.lastname@example.org or +91 9811168488.
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