Highlights of the CRS response thus far:
- CRS is working with its partner KSSS (Bijnore Diocese) and the local government to respond in hard-to-reach areas.
- CRS is providing mosquito nets and, in communities where electricity has not been restored, solar lanterns. Female-headed households and other vulnerable families also have received small cash grants.
- Rain in the area has triggered regular landslides, causing setbacks to road clearing efforts and difficulty transporting relief goods to remote villages. CRS has hired porters and mules to carry supplies, but some communities at high elevations are still inaccessible.
- Affected communities have suffered a double economic blow. In addition to direct losses from flooding, the tourism sector – a main source of income in the region – has suffered greatly. Many people employed by hotels, restaurants and tour companies have lost their jobs.
[updated Aug. 7]
A Catholic Relief Services team has travelled to the mountainous region of northern India, where early monsoon rains caused devastating flooding and landslides that have so far killed up to 1,000 people. Thousands of people are missing or stranded, many of them tourists who travel to the Himalayas every year as part of a pilgrimage to see holy sites. Thousands of people have been rescued by the government, but the raging rivers, collapsed bridges and washed out roads have severely hampered rescue efforts to the area. The CRS team reported seeing many people who were traumatized, but given food and medical attention immediately after they were rescued. One Catholic school, with the support of Caritas India, provided shelter for people who had nowhere to turn, while the diocesan director distributed food to about 600 people. CRS staff report seeing major flooding damage on the roads and bridge in the area, as well as hotels and shops that have been washed away. According to witnesses, many buildings in one village are are entirely submerged. With another round of heavy rains expected and government restrictions on access, CRS and our partners have had limited access to the worst devastation. In the meantime, CRS is working closely with Caritas India staff and local Church partners to establish a presence in the area and make preparations to respond to those in need.