Jammu and Kashmir floods. Rescue Operation by the Indian Red Cross Society in Srinagar. © IRCS
Recently, we watched the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) grapple with one of the worst floods in over half a century. The floodwaters have receded but they have left in their wake proof of the scale of the devastation of personal loss and extensive damage to infrastructure. In the immediate aftermath of the floods, shelter, health and sanitation and other basic needs must be addressed even as the unforgiving winter approaches.
The floods left hundreds dead and thousands displaced, including our colleagues in Srinagar. Our relief, when we were finally able to contact all of our colleagues and receive news of their safety, is a humble reminder of the importance of contact with family and friends, during emergency situations such as this. It also reminds us of the work done, around the world, by our colleagues in the ICRC and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to locate people and put them back into contact with their relatives or clarify the fate of those who remain missing
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continues to - as we did during the floods - support the efforts of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), especially in providing relief material: from life jackets to blankets, solar lanterns to chlorine tablets, and an inflatable boat. We remain committed to provide, through our partners, our support in every way possible in responding to this tragedy.
With active operations in so many emergencies around the world, the ICRC, along with its Movement partners, has been bringing assistance to those most in need. In these situations, as one learns from one crisis to the next, providing appropriate material aid is critically important. We believe that people affected by conflict and armed violence should play a central role in determining solutions to the problems they face. Thus, we tailor our activities and relief materials to the specific needs of the vulnerable communities whether it is kitchen sets or blankets, buckets or mattresses, psycho-social support or training on mass casualty triage. India, over the years, is one of the countries from which we source, or purchase, large amounts of relief items. Hence, some of the goods distributed in South Sudan, Syria or Somalia started their journey in India. While the Indian government and people have been providing humanitarian assistance globally through their own channels, we at the ICRC also recognise the importance of the Indian markets in the realm of ICRC's operations.
We look forward to engaging and partnering with the diverse stakeholders, including the Government of India, as we deal with the challenges of the constantly evolving humanitarian landscape.