Floods Do Not Wash Away Hopes
JANUARY 8, 2018 • SPONSORSHIP
Written by Rubina-Raut
Sponsorship Program Officer, Save the Children in Nepal-Bhutan.
The August rains this year in Nepal proved to be one of the harshest the country has seen in years.
The day started just like any other day in Saptari, one of the sponsorship supported areas in the eastern region of Nepal – bright and sunny. But then, the sky was engulfed with dark clouds and wind, signs of approaching rain. The weather forecast warned of heavy rainfall. However, many, including me, went home in the evening with little thought about the impending damage. The rain got worse as the day went on.
A little before dawn, people chattering woke me up. Everyone, young and old, was wide awake. The water leaking through the closed doors was pooling inside my house, and my neighbor’s houses. As we waited for the relief of daybreak, we piled up furniture to achieve some higher ground for our valuables.
As the light broke through, my hometown was looking more like a deep pond. The magnitude of destruction was immeasurable.
Children in Saptari taking refuge in temporary shelters while their homes are submerged in flood waters.
The flood washed away homes, belongings and crops as well, damaging families’ livelihoods that were meant to last them throughout the year, in a series of continuous downpours. Homes, schools, hospitals and health posts were partially submerged in water. Everyone was searching for high elevation to take refuge. Families brought along with themselves anything they could save – most clutched their precious goats and cattle, their only source of livelihood left. It was really disheartening to see people, especially young carefree children, not having access to clean drinking water during this crisis.
Despite the damage, some of the children still seemed sunny and upbeat, as they swam and played, trying to fish in the new pools of flooded water.
Save the Children helped distribute tarps to around 1,000 affected households, to ensure families have a shelter above them, and shared over 800 hygiene kits – containing items like soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, water purifiers, underwear and towels. Our goal was to ensure children could remain safe from preventable diseases, the prevalence of which rises dramatically during such natural disasters, because water can become contaminated easily.
Floods consuming a small village.
Children, among others, are more at risk in disasters like these. Physical as well as psychological shelter is an urgent need for children during emergencies. In addition to health kits and support in finding shelters, almost 500 children were provided student kits including learning materials like books and notebooks, replacing lost school supplies as the flood in Saptari gradually dries up.
Without sponsorship, none of this relief would have been possible. From my neighbors and I, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Do you have a family plan for when emergencies strike? Being prepared and organized goes a long way in times of crises. How does your family weather big storms?
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