Ethnic clashes in Assam and neighboring districts in India have killed more than 53 people and displaced more than 400,000 since July 20, 2012. No incidents of violence have been reported since July 31, but camp populations continue to increase as people move to safer areas. The state government has set up 278 relief camps where approximately 400,000 people have taken shelter. The government of India has announced compensation for those who have lost a family member or a home in the riots.
The government is now providing food to the camps. Health and sanitation are the priority needs of the displaced families. It is monsoon season and mosquitoes and malaria are a concern. CRS Church partner Bongaigaon Gana Seva Society (BGSS) is responding and Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil of Bongaigaon has organized medical teams that have seen patients in 42 camps. CRS is visiting the camps with BGSS and will determine how to support relief efforts, most likely by providing mosquito nets and medicines. Caritas India is also involved in the response.
Bishop Pulloppillil is trying to address root problems of the violence by leading peacebuilding meetings between the groups in conflict.
Interviews with CRS staff in India are available. Media contact: Liz O’Neill.