GUWAHATI, June 21 - The Adolescent and Child Rights Network Assam (ACRNA) has urged the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) to provide the details on the number of children, pregnant women, and women with infants affected by the current wave of floods as also those staying in relief camps.
According to experts, even as the State bears the brunt of devastating floods every year, insufficient data on this critical aspect can distance the required interventions from the most vulnerable affected populace. As this segment of people remains the worst affected lot during natural calamities like floods, adequate data on them is essential for their relief and rehabilitation.
�We have been visiting the ASDMA website to understand the situation of floods in Assam and able to make a fairly reasonable idea on the same. However, we have observed that some variables are not reflected in the daily reports as a result of which we have not been able to develop a clear understanding on the same � particularly those related to children and pregnant women,� Dr Chiranjeeb Kakoti, child rights activist and coordinator, ACRNA, told The Assam Tribune.
Dr Kakoti added that as a platform of organizations working on the issue of children and adolescents, taking pro-active consideration of the group of population comprising children and women was an urgent necessity.
�This will go a long way in strengthening the relief and rehabilitation strategies and related activities, including supplies. We hope you will be able to do the needful in capturing these variables at the earliest. We will be glad to offer whatever support is possible from our end,� the ACRNA said in a letter to the ASDMA.
The variables on which the ACRNA has sought information includes � the number of children affected, the number of children in the relief camps, the number of women having infants who are in the relief camps, the number of pregnant women in the relief camps, the number of pregnant women who have delivered in the relief camps, the number of children with disabilities who are in the relief camps, and the ratio of usable sanitary toilets and inmates in the relief camps.
The break-ups on the variables, Dr Kakoti said, would give a clearer picture of children affected by floods and �help us to do whatever is possible from our end.� The State will also be able to appropriately direct its resources to the most vulnerable group of the population, he added.
The data on children and women is necessary not just for floods but is critical to ensuring both short-term and long-term relief and rehabilitation during any disaster and displacement.
The term children here refers to any individual who has not completed 18 years of age but this range can be broken down into smaller intervals also.
�Unless there is children data in flood reports, how can the authorities distribute relief properly? Children need milk and other proteins, besides fats in a balanced manner. Women need sanitary napkins and soaps, and everybody needs safe drinking water and temporary sanitary latrines,� he said.