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Rapid response after Jammu and Kashmir floods

Rapid response after Jammu and Kashmir floods

Massive floods hit the northern Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir in September 2014 after torrential rains caused rivers to burst their banks and overwhelm defences.

More than five million people were affected by the floods – the worst in the region for 60 years – with three million people seeing their homes deluged across the districts of Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Budgam, Bandipora, Baramulla and Sophian.

Many of those living in the worst affected areas had never faced such a disaster before and were not well prepared to respond and recover when the floods came.

Vulnerable groups – such as children, women (especially pregnant women and those who had recently given birth), adolescent girls, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses – living in the low lying areas were in the greatest danger when the floods hit, because they were less able to reach the lifesaving services and support they desperately needed.

After seeing their homes destroyed, being exposed to the bad weather and stranded in cold flood waters for long periods, many people, particularly children, were at serious risk of hypothermia. People also faced the very real fear that further floods would quickly follow.

Water systems were severely damaged and took a long time to be restored in some areas. Out of the 1500 supply schemes of safe, clean drinking water in the area around 500 were affected.

Sanitation was also a huge challenge. There was an increased risk of the spread of waterborne diseases and other diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid fever, cholera, hepatitis A, jaundice and malaria.

Communities were well aware that having safe water would save lives.

Phia and its partners delivered rapid and vital support to communities in Jammu and Kashmir by helping to provide plenty of safe water and other essentials for those in need.

Working with our corporate and development partners Aquaplus Disaster Management, IndiGo and Kirloskar, we provided electric water filtration systems to communities in poor, vulnerable, mostly dalit areas of Budgam, Pulwama and Anantnag. The systems use gravity, a motor or a hand pump to filter up to 1500 litres of clean water every hour.

Phia partners also provided medical support at 25 camps, shelter kits – including blankets, cooking equipment and solar lanterns – more than 115,000 water purification sachets and hygiene education.

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