In the summer of 1966, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh experienced one of the worst droughts in the history of the region during the 20th century.
Around 60 million people were suffering from acute food and water shortages.
The Indian Government was assisted by UNICEF and numerous NGOs in the relief operations.
At the request of the country’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, UNICEF provided drilling rigs to accelerate the government’s efforts to provide safe drinking water.
A day and night operation resulted in drilling of hundreds of borewells in the course of three months.
The emergency programme mounted at that time lead, in due course, to a major expansion of the national rural drinking water supply programme in which UNICEF became the key external partner.