In response to the flood disaster in Mumbai, India, Direct Relief is preparing an emergency shipment of medical goods to the affected region. Direct Relief’s in-country coordinator, who is located in Mumbai, contacted the Public Health authorities to offer assistance and was immediately provided with a specific needs list and asked to have the products sent as soon as possible.
The shipment, which will be received by the Mumbai Public Health Department, includes anti-infective and anti-parasitic agents, analgesics, oral rehydration salts, and water purification tablets. These products were specifically requested to address gastrointestinal and respiratory problems including potential outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera which may occur after major flooding and damage to sanitation infrastructure. Public Health officials are also concerned about outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria. The 8 pallet shipment, weighing approximately 5,000 lbs, has a wholesale value of $825,961.81.
The Mumbai Public Health Department is assisting victims of the flood disaster though its extensive network of hospitals, primary health centers, and dispensaries located throughout Mumbai and the surrounding suburbs. It is now estimated by officials that nearly 1,000 people have been killed in the floods. Reports from the region estimate that more than 25,000 people have been evacuated from areas surrounding dams in the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located. Also in the state of Madhya Pradesh, north of Maharashtra, 15,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps.
“Direct Relief has provided medical assistance to charitable healthcare facilities and programs and responded to natural disasters in India for 45 years,” said Susan Fowler, Direct Relief Senior Program Officer and Tsunami Relief Coordinator. “Our strong history and presence in India facilitates our rapid response to these types of emergency situations.”
In February 2005 Fowler traveled to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to assess need and visit Direct Relief partners.
In 2004, Direct Relief provided more than $9.6 million (wholesale value) in medical supplies to health facilities and programs in India, providing full courses of treatment for more than one million people. Direct Relief has also continued to support long term medical programs in response to the massive 2001 earthquake in Gujarat and is currently working with a number of Indian non-governmental organizations to provide medical services and rebuild the medical infrastructure in tsunami-affected regions of the country. This first response is expected to ship on Friday, August 5 and will be transported by air freight to Mumbai.