Geographically susceptible to flooding, the state of Bihar, which includes the intersection of Northern India’s three most powerful rivers—the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghana—is often hard hit by monsoons. Cramped conditions and flood-polluted water caused by regular flooding have made existing health problems much worse. As a result, Bihar suffers high rates of contagious diseases.
AmeriCares India Foundation regularly sends hygiene items to help stop the spread of disease, as well as medicines to treat infections/pain from storm-related injuries and illnesses from drinking contaminated water. These life-saving donations from local Indian pharmaceutical companies also include anti-diahhreals, anti-anemia medicines, anti-dysentery, and antibiotics.
According to the ministry of home affairs, the 2007 floods killed an estimated 545 people and affected approximately 21 million people. Within the first few weeks of the massive flooding, AmeriCares India Foundation began providing water purification tablets and medicines to combat dengue fever, a serious flood-related disease. We also sent supplies to stave off water borne diseases that can contribute to the rapid spread of diarrheal disease, measles, malaria and hypothermia in infants.
When Kosi River levees broke in the summer of 2008, more than three million people were displaced by further flooding. AmeriCares India Foundation immediately responded by sending staff – including Managing Director, Dr. Purvish Parikh – to conduct an assessment of the flood-affected areas. Subsequently, our team on the ground treated patients at several refugee camps, and provided free medicines, medical supplies, nutritional supplements and hygiene items to help people in flood-affected communities. Supplements address the food shortage and restore important nutrients such as Iron and B12—without which young children can develop severe developmental disabilities.