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Caritas India helps flood survivors in northern India

Flash floods in Uttarakhand state have claimed over 35 lives so far

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

Published: July 04, 2016 11:35 AM GMT

Updated: July 04, 2016 11:36 AM GMT

Caritas India helps flood survivors in northern India

A road blocked by landslides in Uttarakhand state. Heavy rains accompanied by landslides in the state have resulted in the deaths of over 30 people and damaged property. (Photo supplied by Caritas India) 

Caritas India is chalking out ways to extend relief to the victims of the flash floods in Uttarakhand state, northern India, that have claimed over 35 lives so far.

"We are planning to start immediate relief work," Father Frederick D'Souza, executive director of Caritas India, the social wing of the local Catholic Church, told ucanews.com. "We will provide sanitation kits, rations, clothing and solar lamps."

He said that the floods have been accompanied by landslides that have damaged lives and property in the hilly state. "We are gathering people in temporary shelters like tents and church-run schools," he added.

Incessant rains led to flash floods in various parts of the state.

Continuous downpours are hampering rescue operations and around 5,000 people, including tourists, have been stranded due to heavy landslides following a cloudburst July 1.

More landslides are feared as forecasters predict more heavy rain.

An assessment carried out by Caritas India's local partners revealed that there has been huge loss of property, livestock, household items and vehicles.

"As a result people are not able to meet their basic needs," the report said, indicating an urgent need for external support.

Damage to infrastructure in the area has resulted in a loss of electricity in villages as well as in relief camps and other shelters. Damage to roads and bridges have disconnected many villages from each other, according to the report.

Father D'Souza said that they are planning to set up five medical camps in the most affected areas as there have been reports of severe injuries.

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The priest said that they are also thinking of transferring cash to the victims' bank accounts. "It saves us the logistics of purchasing and carrying the items to the person," he said, adding that they will have to see how many people in the affected areas actually have bank accounts.

This is not the first time Uttarakhand has experiencing this kind of calamity. In 2013, heavy rains and major flash floods killed at least 1,000 people, leaving thousands stranded and causing massive damage to property.

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