ShelterBox has taken the decision to not send aid to flood-hit India following detailed needs assessments over the past few weeks undertaken by ShelterBox Response Teams (SRTs).
Even though the flash floods have caused a huge scale of devastation to infrastructure and communities when monsoon rains hit the lower Himalayan region of Uttarakhand in mid-June, SRT member Eva Doerr (DE) was surprised to not find a suitable need for emergency shelter:
‘The affected area consists of mountainous terrain with valleys therefore the floods destroyed huge parts of the lower valleys making our first impressions seem that our aid would be essential. However it turned out the families who lost their homes moved to higher ground in the mountains and are now living with extended family or friends. It was indicated that this is typical at least for this part of India as communal and familial ties are very strong. The people affected by the floods will remain in these homes until rebuilding is complete.’
To assist with this decision, the SRTs met with various local government officials, national and international non-governmental organisations, pilgrims and local communities to obtain a good overall perspective of the situation.
‘Through meeting with a variety of bodies, we have now made important contacts in Delhi and are amazed by the support offered by government officials,’ continued Eva. ‘We are encouraged to move forward and further work on establishing a partnership between India and ShelterBox.’
‘For now we are working on enhancing the contact network started in the country to then make decisions on whether to preposition stock in India and enable ShelterBox to respond more efficiently to future disasters. India is a huge country where disasters regularly occur; it would be great to respond to these small pockets of need more effectively and quickly.’