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Flood operations reviewed
September 7th, 2007

A meeting was convened today at the National Headquarters to review the IRCS flood operations till date. Representatives from the IFRC and Partner National Societies working in India attended the meeting.

Opening the meeting, Prof. (Dr) S.P. Agarwal, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society extended his gratitude to IFRC and PNSs for coming forward and supporting the cause. He also emphasized the need for early implementation of the two projects viz National Water & Sanitation Disaster Response Team and Video-Conferencing in eleven Disaster prone States and six regional warehouses so that IRCS, NHQ is well prepared to face any eventuality.

Dr. Agarwal further shared the experience from his recent visit to Orissa and informed that Cholera and Diarrhoea are widespread in the Koraput District. He was overwhelmed to witness the abject poverty in the State and narrated a real story of three underprivileged children who have lost their mother due to Cholera. They live in miserable condition as the chickens are also housed with them. They have bare minimum clothes to wear, survive on bhat and end up drinking contaminated water.

Another instance he quoted was about a true spirit of volunteerism which he noticed in the six Red Cross volunteers who have been mobilized in the Kashipur block of Raygada District since August 22nd, 2007 and are helping in ferrying the flood affected people to the safer zones.

Indian Red Cross Society has been working to improve public health by helping to reduce communities' vulnerability to disasters and disease. During the review meeting today it was decided to promote health awareness programmes in the affected areas. Short film on hand washing developed by American Red Cross on hand washing may be shared with IRCS Orissa state branch along with the psycho-social support programme.

In the current flood fury the National Headquarters has mobilized and sent relief material worth of Rs. 5.54 crores in the affected States of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tripura, West Bengal, Karnataka, Haryana and Meghalaya. In addition financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 9 lakhs have been provided to cover operational costs. Two watsan units have been mobilized to Bihar State branch from Kolkata warehouse.

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