Bihar flood victims need new clothes, not old

September 9th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Sep 9 (IANS) Hundreds of thousands of homeless people in flood-hit Bihar badly need clothes, but not old ones. Voluntary organisations have been told to arrange for new clothes, an official said.Officials involved in rescue and relief operations in the state have made it clear that they would not accept old clothes.

”Only new clothes would be welcome for distribution among flood-affected people,” said an official of the state disaster management department.

Unhappy over the dumping of old clothes near some relief camps by non government organisations, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed to voluntary organisations to distribute new clothes among the flood-hit people.

“Please do not provide old and second hand clothes to flood affected people,” said Kumar.

He said people, who want to donate, should be encouraged to donate new clothes instead of old ones.

Kumar, known for his emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene in a state quite the antitheses of such ideals, said that all affected families would be given Rs.1000 for clothes and utensils.

An official monitoring the relief camps told IANS here that hundreds of thousands of people living in relief camps and other temporary shelters badly need clothes since they have been wearing the same set of clothes for the last 10-15 days.

“Clothes of most of the people in relief camps are not only dirty but stinking. They need clothes to get rid of the ones they are continously wearing,” an official said.

About 971,000 people have been evacuated to safe places till date. Around 279,000 people have taken shelter in over 300 relief camps in flood-affected areas, officials said.

According to the water resources department, the Kosi river continued to recede. But the river still poses a threat to the lives of people trapped in Bihar’s worst floods in over 50 years.

The floods have claimed at least 50 lives, according to official estimates. However, voluntary agencies fear the number could be in thousands.

Over 2.5 million people and nearly 1 million cattle have been affected by the floods caused by the change in course of the Kosi river, following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal. About 100,000 hectares of farmland have been submerged and nearly 300,000 houses damaged.

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