Purvi Malhotra

Guwahati: Like many flood-affected villagers, Dulu Das has been living in a relief camp for over a week now. Although, food and drinking water are adequate in the flood relief camp at Solmara Bazar Griha under Paschim Nalbari Revenue Circle in Lower Assam’s Nalbari district, yet Dulu had a difficult time feeding her six-month-old daughter, Nilangshi Das.

Twenty-eight-year-old Dulu had to run from one place to another in the crowded relief camp to find a place where she could breastfeed her daughter. It was often not easy finding a secluded place.

Das is not the only one who faced this problem at the Solmara Bazar Griha relief camp.

However, Dulu’s problems were addressed recently by Mrinal Das, who is the supervisor of the relief camp. A breastfeeding corner has been set up in the camp.

“It was difficult to feed my daughter as the camp is always crowded. There are people everywhere. Sometimes, I had to sit near my relatives and request them to cover me while I fed her. I am thankful that a breastfeeding corner has been set up in the camp now,” said Dulu Das.

Breastfeeding corners are a key component of the child-friendly spaces in relief camps that have been advocated by UNICEF India with the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Assam. They now feature in the official relief camp management SOPs.

Mrinal Das recalls being under tremendous pressure with the magnitude of the flood in the second wave. “A very large number of people came, almost at the same time, to the camp and our priority was to provide them with shelter and food.”

Das took immediate steps to set up the breastfeeding corner in the Solmara Bazar Griha relief camp after a team from UNICEF visited to support with the flood response.

A two storied pucca building, which was turned into a relief camp for the flood affected people, currently houses 1,189 inmates since June 14. The inmates belong to 189 families that includes 720 male, 360 female and 109 children.

It may be mentioned here that the entire village has about 3200 people who are currently residing in four relief camps set up by the district administration.

The villagers have appreciated the efforts of the district administration. The inmates of the camp have been provided regular safe drinking waters.

“There are medical camps being organized as well to check on any type of health outbreak,” said another inmate of the camp.

Purvi Malhotra is Communication Specialist at UNICEF India.


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