Villages have been completely washed away. Homes are flattened, invaluable possessions ruined. Nothing remains.
The flood waters that hit the northern state of Uttarkhand, have been named the ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ and have caused mass destruction.
At the time of writing, more than 560 people have been killed and an estimated 150,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, including 65,000 children.
In many cases, the floods hit in the middle of the night, catching people by surprise.
The heaviest rains for 60 years
This year’s monsoon rains came a month early; they are now believed to be the heaviest rains for 60 years.
Thousands of stranded families and children are in a desperate situation – without shelter, warm clothes or food.
Many children and pregnant women need urgent medical attention and we’ve already heard reports of a child dying from pneumonia because their family could not reach the hospital.
Help regaining livelihoods
The rivers and wells have been polluted with sewage and run-off debris – causing huge concern about the spread of disease.
Treating people – especially young children – quickly and effectively will be absolutely crucial to saving lives.
Beyond the immediate basic needs, families’ crops have been destroyed and their animals have drowned. Many will need help regaining their livelihoods.
Schools have been destroyed or washed away, interrupting children’s education at a traumatic time when they desperately need routine and familiarity.
A daunting task
In response, aid agencies and the government have reacted rapidly. Save the Children teams have already reached those affected and are urgently moving standby relief materials from our warehouse to the affected areas.
But the challenges are enormous. The flood waters and landslides have left many villages and populations stranded and inaccessible.
Clearing up the destruction and recovering from the devastation are daunting tasks even if the weather now subsides but alarmingly, our teams fear it may get even worse: further rains are forecast in the coming days.
We need your support
Luckily, Save the Children already works in 13 states across India.
After responding to the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 and other floods of this kind across the country, we have significant previous experience and local knowledge, enabling us to respond quickly and effectively.
We know what to do – we just need your support.