HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Uttarakhand: Enough relief material, not enough relief in interiors

Sidhartha Roy & Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times  Rishikesh/Dehradun, June 28, 2013
First Published: 01:19 IST(28/6/2013) | Last Updated: 02:59 IST(28/6/2013)

Relief material from the rest of the country is pouring into Uttarakhand alright, but they are not reaching the flood-hit interiors.

So while places such as Agastmuni, Vijaynagar, Chandrapuri, Tilwara, Tamari, Chaka Palasi and other villages are witnessing hunger deaths, along the Dehradun-Rishikesh road local children are playing catch with tetra packs of fruit juice donated by NGOs.

Behind the misdirected relief material are bad weather, inadequate storage facilities and poor coordination. “There is no system to guide truck drivers or NGOs carrying relief material,” complained SS Kaintura a voluntary activist.

“Those donating food materials, drinking water and clothes pay truck owners to send them to disaster hit areas but the drivers dump them at areas such as Dehradun and Rishikesh to avoid the difficult trek ahead and to save fuel,” said a relief camp organiser who didn’t want to be named.

There are also reports that shopkeepers in many areas,  are keeping these materials, promising to give them to the needy, but hoarding and selling them instead.

Sheltering relief material from rain has also become a huge task for the authorities and a large part of it is getting affected by rain.

“Air lifting materials have limitation and we are sending need-based items at present. We have a command centre to receive and store relief material but there are a lot of problems as we can’t keep it in the open due to rains,” said Santosh Badoni, nodal officer, Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority.

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