East India floods 2008

People affected by the floods hold onto their belongings as they wait to be evacuated by a rescue team at Chondipur village, Bihar. Credit: REUTERS/ Rupak De Chowdhuri, www.alertnet.org

People affected by the floods hold onto their belongings as they wait to be evacuated by a rescue team at Chondipur village, Bihar. 

Devastating floods forced millions of people from their homes in the eastern Indian state of Bihar in August 2008.

Monsoon rains caused the Kosi River to breach its banks on 18 August 2008, resulting in serious floods in six eastern districts of Bihar. The scale of the breach changed the course of the river, with waters flowing into villages that were not previously flood prone. Some reports indicated that over 2.7 million people were displaced by the rising waters. Critically affected districts were Supaul, Araria, Madhepura, Saharsa, Purnea and Katihar. More than one million people sought refuge in over 150 relief camps after floods swept away their homes.

More than one million people sought refuge in over 150 relief camps after floods swept away their homes.

Oxfam's response

Working with partner organisations, Oxfam distributed food, water purification kits, buckets, tarpaulin and shelter sheets in relief camps in Supaul district.

When the floods first hit we used motorboats to rescue stranded men, women and children.

During our emergency response, we provided clean water and sanitation facilities in four camps and distributed food, shelter materials and hygiene kits to 100,000 people.

Latest news

Thousands of families at risk in Bihar floods

September 4, 2008

Efforts to tackle the devastating floods in north east India that have affected more than 2.7 million people must be increased urgently to avert a secondary disaster due to disease.

Oxfam responds to East India floods

September 1, 2008

Oxfam is responding to the worst floods in 50 years in Bihar, East India, providing water and sanitation, shelter and food to at least 20,000 people.

You can help with future emergencies

Oxfam aims to respond immediately to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, but we can only do this if we have funds ready when they are needed. You can help: