In response to a series of floods that wreaked havoc across areas of the north-eastern states of Assam and Manipur since May, the European Commission is providing close to €200 000 in humanitarian aid funding to assist the most vulnerable communities. The aid will directly benefit 25 000 heavily affected people in flood-stricken areas.
“This EU contribution underlines our commitment to the people of India, many of whom have suffered devastating losses as a result of the flooding,” said David Sevcik, Head of the South Asia Regional Office for the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). “The funding will ensure essential aid is delivered to those most in need, thereby helping them to survive this hard time.”
This EU funding supports the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) in delivering much-needed assistance through the distribution of emergency relief items such as family tents, tarpaulins, temporary sanitation facilities, and mosquito nets. Water purification tablets and storage are provided to ensure the impacted families have access to clean water. In addition, training sessions to promote good hygiene practices are being organised alongside the delivery of personal hygiene items, including soaps and sanitary napkins. The EU-funded aid targets eight of the hardest-hit districts of Karimganj, Nagoan, Bhubri, and Barapeta in Assam and Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal, and Bishnupur in Manipur. The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
A sequence of heavy monsoon rains, which have hit India's north-eastern region over the past months, have caused rivers and their tributaries to overflow and left large swathes of the area submerged. In the states of Assam and Manipur, a number of homes have been fully or partially destroyed. According to authorities, the severe flooding has affected more than 1.7 million people - tens of thousands of whom were displaced. More than 100 000 hectares of crop lands were lost in flood waters, significantly impacting the livelihoods of the people in the predominantly agricultural region. As water levels begin to recede in many areas, vector- and water-borne diseases such as malaria and diarrhoea have become a concern. Whilst many people have returned to their places of origin as water levels begin to recede, humanitarian needs remain immense.
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and the European Commission enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.