Frequent natural disasters and situations of instability in Jammu & Kashmir, Central and Northeast India generate significant humanitarian needs among the country’s most vulnerable populations.
Over 700,000 people in Jammu & Kashmir suffer from the six decade-old crisis. Civilians, who have witnessed violence for years, bear symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress. Many also need livelihood support, as insecurity hampers economic activities.
Central India, particularly southern Chhattisgarh, has seen sporadic bursts of violence between Maoist insurgents and security forces in recent years. Indigenous people living in remote forests are caught in the crossfire. The instability limits their access to already inadequate basic services like healthcare.
Northeast India is a quagmire of insurgencies. The resulting violence affects thousands of people. Ethnic tensions over land rights are flaring up time and again. Only recently, in 2012, clashes between the Bodo Tribe and the Bengali-speaking Muslim community forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. The displaced people need food, shelter and clean drinking water.
Over the years, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, droughts and landslides have inflicted tremendous suffering on the people of India. Schedule Castes and Tribes whose social and economic indicators lag behind national averages are worst affected. The 2012 floods in Assam displaced tens of thousands of people.
In 2012, the European Commission provided over € 7 million in humanitarian aid to help address the needs of people affected by violence and natural disasters in India. The funding provided psychosocial support and livelihood means to people in Jammu & Kashmir, health services to people in remote settlements in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, and emergency assistance to families displaced during the violence in Assam. People affected by the flash floods in Uttarakhand and Assam received food, shelter, drinking water and sanitation facilities.
The European Commission will provide a further € 2 million in 2013 to address malnutrition among children and short-term food insecurity in selected districts.
Since 2001, ECHO’s Disaster Preparedness programme known as DIPECHO, has supported vulnerable communities in reducing the impact of floods, cyclones and other natural disasters through initiatives like creating early warning systems and adapted physical infrastructure.
ECHO has been present in India since 1995 and has responded to all major emergencies since, including the Orissa cyclone in 1999, the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the Tsunami in 2004 and the Jammu & Kashmir earthquake in 2005. Between 2002 and 2012, ECHO also provided humanitarian assistance to over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees living in India. Its total humanitarian assistance to India till now exceeds €120 million.