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In September 2011, Oxfam India set out to respond to two major disasters in India. One was the severe floods in Malda – West Bengal and the other was the flash floods in Dhemaji - Assam. Oxfam also provided significant humanitarian assistance to four flood affected districts (Puri, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Balasore) of Odisha. Although the three disasters went relatively un-noticed in the national media, they were critical humanitarian crisis, with significant need for humanitarian aid especially the need for vital water sanitation facilities and services to the affected communities. Over the last four months Oxfam India’s humanitarian assistance programmes provided water sanitation and emergency support to 9436 families or approximately a population of 51,000 in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha.
As in previous humanitarian assistance programmes, we have adopted the highest standards of humanitarian assistance.
Oxfam India’s humanitarian assistance in response to the floods in Malda and Assam during the period Sept 2011 to Jan 2012 was successful in preventing many of the worst outcomes which could be prevented by way of humanitarian actions. Even though the volume of resources provided was limited (US $ 146,500 for the 5 months programme) the performance of the programme was important in keeping thousands of flood affected families and displaced persons supplied with safe water, sanitation facilities and emergency shelter and basic public health services. Of equal importance is the support that we received from Oxfam Australia, Oxfam Germany, Oxfam International and Oxfam GB in terms of technical assistance, funding and monitoring and evaluation support.
Oxfam India’s humanitarian programme worked within the umbrella of the overall Oxfam International humanitarian response system and procedures and worked closely with our long term partner in Assam - rural volunteers center (RVC) to effectively deliver the programme. Oxfam India’s humanitarian hub responded throughout the crisis with effective operational procedures and made appropriate decisions on programmes and project components.
Our humanitarian response strategy allowed us to concentrate our resources on the much needed job of establishing water sanitation facilitates in affected villages and rehabilitation of minor infrastructure both in Malda (West Bengal) and Dhemaji (Assam) and on preparing conditions for the displaced populations’ return to their villages.