Kamla and her three-year old son are in a ‘school turned shelter camp’ in Katni town. Her erstwhile home is under water - nowhere to be seen. The only blessing she has is that she is alive with her entire family. More than 15,000 families have been rendered homeless in Katni district alone. Major part of the district is either under water or encircled by water. This is due to the heavy rains lashing the area for more than 130 hours.
Katni district - an important railway junction in the north eastern region of Madhya Pradesh, in central India - has virtually turned into an island surrounded by flood waters on all sides. The only way to reach there is by rail, thanks to the high embankment the tracks are built on.
A Rapid Assessment Team from UNICEF Bhopal confirmed that 4000 people including children have been rescued from waterlogged areas and given shelter in relief camps. However three or four villages could still not be reached. The UNICEF team also visited relief camps in Katni, where hygiene, cleanliness, sanitation and safe drinking water are major issues.
Two UNICEF extenders, camping in to support the relief operations, are working with district administration, NGOs and people in relief camps to talk about hygiene, cleanliness, sanitation and water safety.
IEC leaflets in Hindi, on ORS, hygiene and safe drinking water have reached Katni today. They will be distributed by UNICEF consultants and district administration. More IEC material will follow.
UNICEF received a request from the District Collector of Katni for materials such as mats, blankets, buckets, mugs, lanterns, water containers, candles, match boxes, dust bins, carom boards etc. which will be leaving for Katni by train on Sunday.
UNICEF team members Surajit Chakraborty and Pushpa Awasthy reached a relief camp organised at the Jain school. This relief camp is one of the 21 camps set up in the district in the past seven days giving shelter to about 7000 people affected by floods in both, urban and rural areas.
The UNICEF team talked to the Jain School relief camps inhabitants and motivated them to clean up the place of heaps of garbage that had been lying in the open for several days.
The team found the conditions in the camp quite worrying. They talked to the camp residents and motivated them to bathe their children as well as themselves, and to clean the place jointly to make it safe and hygienic. They started cleaning the place with the help of 3-4 young volunteers at around 10.30 am and an hour later, the picture had totally changed showing a great team work. The entire place including 11 rooms, kitchen, backyard and front area had been cleaned.
Madan Mohan Chauraha said, “Madam it feels good to see the place clean after so long”. Also, the mothers whose children have been immunised expressed their gratitude saying, “Thanks to you our children have been immunised. At least we don’t have to worry about them falling sick.”