Oxfam assesses Ladakh flood disaster, seeks help


New Delhi : Shortage of shelter has emerged as the biggest cause of worry for the survivors of flash floods in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region earlier this month, according to a report prepared by NGO Oxfam India.

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The other areas of concern are potable water, health and hygiene and bathing cubicles, an official of the NGO said Tuesday.

“With winter fast approaching, shelter options need to be worked out for the survivors while keeping in mind the fact that normal tarpaulin sheets will not help them tide over the winter chill. We appeal to all of you to support us in this process,” said Nisha Agrawal, CEO, Oxfam India.

Based on the assessment report, Oxfam India has decided to reach out to 2,000 families in nine villages, including some of the worst affected ones like Choglamsar, Saboo and Tashi Gyatsal, said Agrawal.

In terms of shelter, the army has provided people with tents but the temperatures by mid-November and December would dip to minus 30 degrees Celsius, said Agrawal.

“We have brought in a shelter specialist to carry out a detailed shelter assessment and provide specifications for shelter design, which would be quick to build and cost effective,” she said.

Zubin Zaman, humanitarian response manager, Oxfam India, said that in order to solve the problem of drinking water, the voluntary group has installed a water purifier system to provide safe drinking water and meet the shortfall.

Another major area of concern is the damaged irrigation canals that feed 90 percent of the agricultural field in the villages. Without these, the people would struggle to earn a livelihood and this would increase food insecurity, Zaman said.

“There is an urgent need to repair the village irrigation canals as quickly as possible to secure people’s livelihoods,” added Zaman.

The cloudburst, flash floods and mudslides that hit the region around midnight Aug 6 washed away concrete structures, including government offices, paramilitary camps and residential homes. At least 165 people were killed and over 500 were displaced.