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 Red Cross calls for int'l help for Nepal flood victims
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Red Cross calls for int'l help for Nepal flood victims [ 2007-8-13 ]
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Aug. 12: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has appealed for 2.3 million Swiss francs (US $1.9 million/& Euro 1.4 million) to help more than 20,000 families affected by torrential monsoon rains, landslides and extensive flooding in the south of Nepal.

According to assessments by the Nepal Red Cross Society, more than 21,500 families, or around 127,000 people, have been displaced by the floods and landslides, while over 26,500 houses have been damaged or destroyed. In the worst hit districts, vast areas of crops have been decimated, and several roads and bridges have been washed away. It is estimated that more than 330,000 Nepalese residents have been affected in total so far.

"The hardest hit communities need to receive food, clean water, and access to sanitation facilities", the Federation cited the secretary general of the Nepal Red Cross, Dev Ratna Dhakhwa in a press statement. "But, we also need to look beyond this emergency phase, towards helping people return to a normal way of life and enable vulnerable communities to be prepared for future disasters such as this," he added.

The Nepal Red Cross has been leading the distribution relief in the country and is working closely with the government, United Nations agencies and other aid organizations. Volunteers in each of the 33 affected districts have so far distributed rice, noodles, salt and sugar to around 30,000 families, along with first aid and ambulance services. Plastic sheets, cooking utensils and blankets have also been given to more than 3,000 families.

This is the third emergency appeal launched by the International Federation in recent weeks in response to the South Asia floods. At the beginning of July, a call for over 840,000 Swiss francs was issued to support flood affected people in Bangladesh. However, with conditions still deteriorating, the International Federation is planning to scale up its relief operation in Bangladesh, where millions of people remain in urgent need of food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, clothing and shelter.

Relief and recovery efforts are also continuing in South-West Pakistan, where torrential rains, suffocating temperatures and moving flood waters led to a miserable situation for around 2.5 million people in June. Red Crescent volunteers have been distributing relief and providing medical care for thousands of families and five of the International Federation's Emergency Response Units (ERU) have been deployed to assist in the areas of health, water and sanitation, and logistics. An emergency appeal was also launched for Pakistan in July.

Meanwhile, disaster response teams from the Indian Red Cross Society are responding to floods across the country, where at least 14 million people have been affected. The Red Cross headquarters in Delhi is working closely with branches in 10 states to distribute relief items such as tarpaulins, bedding, mosquito nets and clothing.

"Though flood levels are receding in some areas of India and Nepal, Bangladesh's rivers continue to overflow as water pours down from swollen rivers to the north," said Nina Nobel, the International Federation's regional representative for South Asia. "Meanwhile, conditions are worsening again in Pakistan, with severe weather expected in the flood-affected provinces of Baluchistan and Sindh over the next few days. The situation remains highly unstable throughout the region, and with more monsoon rains to come, things could still worsen."

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