Tuesday, October 06, 2009

World Vision seeks donations for India

World Vision is calling for donations to help with the new drought in India. Drought is affecting North and Central India, while floods are washing away crops in Southern India. Food prices have already sharply increased due to the weather.

From this World Vision press release, we read more about the food insecurity in India.

Massive food shortages are now impacting hundreds of millions of Indians with floods and droughts setting back efforts to combat poverty by years, warns World Vision.

The failure of the monsoon in the north, northeast and some parts of western India, has resulted in 22% below normal rains for the country. Millions of farmers are now suffering from failed harvests or crops destroyed by flood waters. Any rains would now come to late to help farmers.

"India is now entering a period of severe food vulnerability," said Dr Jayakumar Christian, National Director for World Vision India. "We are seeing our development work set back by years." He said 350 million Indians were drought affected - including in 52 of World Vision's 135 project areas a.

Dr Christian said the floods in Southern India had caught people and the government by surprise, leaving 1.5 million homeless and over 200 dead. Over 200,000 homes had been destroyed.

"The sudden floods came as a real shock to people living in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra because the region has not experienced anything like this in more than 100 years. These are not disaster prone areas," he said.

World Vision is now appealing for USD$2 million to meet the immediate needs of flood survivors who have been driven from their homes into relief camps. Those floods have destroyed crops and impacted some 20 million people, with scores of villages cut off.

The agency's relief workers have been providing cooked food, family packs of household items, mosquito nets, cooking utensils and clothing to thousands of survivors in relief camps in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as part of an initial USD$200,000 response. Aid support would extend to thousands more people over the coming days.

World Vision hopes to raise USD$2million to ramp up its response to meet the needs of 100,000 people.

Dr Christian said: "Rates of malnourishment are already extremely high in India. Almost half of all under-fives are malnourished and these droughts and floods are pushing families to the very edge. What is needed is a massive coordinated response involving the federal and central governments, and local and international NGOs to make sure food aid gets through."

Without assistance he warned that crop failures and losses would lead to:

Mass migration from rural areas to the cities Increased indebtedness among farmers Parents pulling children out of school to work instead Increased vulnerabilities for children, including the risk of children being trafficked into labour or sexual exploitation

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