Dec 27, 2014

Areas inaccessible, Scale of disaster still unclear: Oxfam

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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

September 12, Jammu: The Oxfam team on the ground in Poonch and Rajouri today reported that over 3000 houses were destroyed and approximately 6000 homes partially damaged in the Rajouri district. "The additional commissioner confirmed to us that 72 people have been reported dead. Entire villages have been washed away in Poonch," said Bipul Borah, humanitarian programme manager, Oxfam, who is leading the humanitarian effort.

"We found that in some areas of Jammu, not only floods but landslides have destroyed entire villages. South Kashmir is still inaccessible making it impossible to assess the situation" he said.

Oxfam is responding to the urgent humanitarian crisis. "With water levels receding it is time to launch a massive effort in ensuring supply of clean water and good sanitation," said Bipul. Priorities include debris and environmental cleaning, solid waste and dust management, emergency winterized shelters or tents including blankets, utensils, heaters, solar lights and also cash transfer for selected households.

We hear from the volunteer support groups on the ground that hundreds of thousands of people are living in makeshift camps and in desperate need of help. Those affected have stressed on the urgent and continuous need for relief supplies like drinking water, food, shelter, blankets and sanitation facility.

With only 65 days before snow is forecast in the valley, the race against time has already begun for the rehabilitation process.

"We require emergency winterized shelters or tents including blankets and heaters" said Borah.

Contact:

New Delhi: Gunjan Jain, News Media Manager, Oxfam India: +91 9811777387

On the ground: Tahira Firdaus, Humanitarian Communications Officer, Oxfam India: +91 7044066070

On Twitter: @OxfamIndia

On Facebook: Oxfam India

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