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Kosi River Floodwaters Ruin Millions of Homes in India 

UNICEF relief efforts continue in Bihar, India, as estimates of flood affected rise to over 3 million

Unicef, New York, September 05, 2008

With the number of people affected by the flooding in the Bihar state of India now estimated at three million, UNICEF continues its relief operation in what it describes as a "grim humanitarian situation". Tens of thousands of people, including many children, may still be stranded in remote areas, says the children's agency. These populations are in most urgent need of relief supplies such as clean water, food, medicines and shelter. Many are staying in the open on highlands along the river tributaries or road sides.

According to UNICEF staff on the ground, the relief and rehabilitation operation in Bihar could be needed for several months. Many families have moved more than once to escape the rising waters and are living in increasingly desperate conditions. The agency is especially concerned about the well-being of children affected by the floods and is working with the government of India to reach all those in need of rescue and relief.

The displacement of people has been massive as people continue to flee or are evacuated from marooned areas. Many have settled in relief camps, but some of these have also been flooded.

The UNICEF response concentrates on delivering life-saving supplies such as clean water, medicines and shelter equipment. Much of these supplies were pre-positioned before the floods struck Bihar. In addition, UNICEF priorities are in the areas of nutrition, immunization, education, water and sanitation, and education.

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