Monday, September 8, 2008

Stand now! In solidarity with the Bihar flood victims

Dear Friends and Co-citizens,
The floods, a tragedy that has engulfed the lives and livelihoods of uncountable number of people has severely affected 15 districts of Bihar. Media reports say around 3 millions or 30 lakh people have lost their houses, livelihoods and the right to life with dignity, which is commonly not considered a basic human right. The activists and experts who are working for the rescue or relief among the marooned people believe that the magnitude is much beyond the reported numbers. One of the reports states that over 1 lakh hectare or 247 thousand acres of agricultural land is destroyed ensuring that the future of food security and livelihoods is not so bright even after the floodwater recedes.
Dear friends, the floodwater is receding, creating space for epidemics, sanitation-related diseases and wide-scale corruption in implementation of relief works. The already delayed response from the media is rapidly withdrawing itself from the national calamity in Bihar.
The cry of the time is to ensure successful rescue of all the trapped people, irrespective of their castes, religion or any other considerations, as there are reports that 'fittest' compelling the rescue teams for caste-selective evacuations. There is a dire need of relief materials, rehabilitation and reconstruction-rebuilding strategies and initiatives and most importantly, strict monitoring of all such interventions.
The civil society, state governments and many others responded to the unprecedented disaster spontaneously and have offered relief material for the victims. The local government recklessly handled the situation before and after the breach of Kosi Embankment. The rescues and relief works offered by the government are also not so promising or convincing that the state machinery could be trusted.
It is suspected that the rescue and temporary relief will vanish with the receding water and subsiding media reports. The scars of the fury will remain for long, in the memories, and on the economy of millions of people. There will be the need of a timely and long-term rehabilitation of the livelihoods of affected people otherwise mass exodus is going to crush the already ill-paid workers and labourers in the small and big cities. Another reign of violation of labour rights and human rights is in offing, if we fail to act now, effectively.
Bihar Flood Relief Network, a forum of activists, civil society groups, concerned citizens and students has taken up the task and is engaged in creating a data-base of sincere groups and individuals working among the flood victims, actually the victims of ill-conceived and implemented government policies on handling the rivers of Bihar and everywhere else.

We request all those who are concerned with such annual tragedies and with the present Bihar flood in particular to join the struggle to defeat the ill affects of the calamity. Stand out with generous donations, moral and emotional supports for the victims and relief workers, volunteering for reconstruction of human lives and building constructive pressure on the concerned authorities, governments and media.

For further details please contact
Rakesh Singh, Phone: 91-9811972872, email:
Vinay Kumar, Phone: 91-9810361918, email:
Ishteyaque Ahmad, Phone: 91-9968329198,

Following is the list of articles/services required in the flood-affected area
1. Doctors, besides, medicine experts the gynecologists are on high demand
2. Baby foods: milk powder and other processed food items
3. Plates & glasses
4. Cloths: unstitched – Cotton Saris, Dhoti, Lungi, Towels
5. Stitched - undergarments, cloths for kids, t-shirts and knickers
6. Soap: Lifebuoy
7. Food items: biscuits, namkeen, oils, pulses, sattu, gram, salt, sugar
8. Slippers
9. Tents, Dari, plastic sheets
10. Candles, torch, match box
11. Buckets (15 litres) with mugs
12. Mosquito nets
13. Blankets

List of required Medicines
1. Ciprofloxacin tablets and infusion
2. Chlorine tablets (Halogen tablets)
3. Levofloxacin tablets
4. Chloromyecetin capsules and injections
5. Ceftriaxone Injections
6. Chloroquine tablets and injections
7. Metronidazole Chloroquine tablets, suspension
8. Paracetamal tablets and suspension
9. B Complex tablets and syrup
10. Phensedyl DM cough syrup
11. Ranitidine tablets and injection
12. Antacids tablets and suspension
13. Cetrizine tablets and syrup
14. Ibuprofen tablets
15. Dexamethasone injections
16. Hydrocortisone injections
17. Deriphyllin injections
18. Electrol, Glucose and ORS Powder
19. Sanitary napkins/pads

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