In Assam, on an estimated average 3-4 million people have been affected by floods in the last 10 years.
While certain proportions of the affected people resort to relief camps in Assam operated by the local administration, many prefer alternative temporary shelters such as high raised platforms, roads and embankments as convenient shelters.
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) issued Covid Appropriate Behaviours and protocols for Relief Camps in Assam as mentioned below:
- Shelter Coordination Committee – As people resort to temporary shelters, a shelter coordination committee shall be formed and focal point shall be nominated by people themselves composed of inmates with adequate representation of women, adolescents and young people and elderly to coordinate with local administration. The local administration must be notified about existence of such camp at the earliest and GR request through Gaon Burah/ Lot mondal / Panchayat representatives shall be placed before the local administration by the committee. The Shelter co-ordination committee will also arrange COVID testing /RAT at regular intervals with the help of health team. The Shelter co-ordination committee may arrange COVID19 vaccination camp for the inmates with the help of District Immunization Officer.
2. Coordination of Relief Distribution / essential items – Relief and essential item distribution should be coordinated maintaining social distancing norms
3. Display of Emergency Phone Numbers – Emergency phone numbers should be displayed in the temporary shelter sites like DEOC (Control Room) No, Police Control Room No, Health, Fire & APDCL
4. Awareness on COVID appropriate behavior – The inmates should be adequately sensitized by local administration on the Govt. advisory and COVID appropriate behavior to be adopted in such temporary shelters through public miking, IEC distribution etc.
5. Sanitization of Temporary Shelters – Daily sanitization of temporary shelters shall be ensured by local administration. One team per shelter or one team for a group of adjacent shelters can be assigned for sanitization of such shelters.
6. Social Distancing within and between tents – If any temporary shelter is created, social distancing of atleast 6 feet shall be ensured between every tent and accordingly number of tents shall be erected.
7. Adequate water arrangements – The shelter coordination committee through Gaon Burah/ Lot Mondal / Panchayat Representatives shall request PHED department for providing minimum 20 litres of water per person per day through appropriate sources.
8. Adequate Lighting arrangements – District Administration will ensure adequate lighting arrangements in the temporary shelters. The inmates should not face any difficulty for staying in the shelters during night time.
9. Handwashing facility with Soap – Any such temporary shelter site shall have provision for hand washing with soap at entry and exit; and other locations depending upon the total population in such temporary shelters shall be made. Local arrangements based on materials available shall be made. 60 seconds of handwashing during entry, before and after use of toilet, before and after taking food, feeding baby, handling child faeces shall be ensured.
10. Mandatory wearing of masks – all such flood affected families in temporary shelters must ensure that all members always wear masks mandatorily. They must be worn properly to cover nose and mouth.
11. Separate toilets form male and female – Within a minimum distance of 10 metre and maximum 50 metre of any such temporary shelters, either existing community toilets to be identified and demarcated as male and female toilets or separate temporary toilets shall be erected with support of PHED.
12. Random health check ups and screening – The shelter coordination committee will also coordinate through local ASHA/ ANM for random screening and checkup in the shelter site through health camps on daily basis. Occasional testing with “RAT” in case the temporary shelter/ relief camp comes under containment zone or the number of Covid cases reported are increasing in that area.
13. Child Friendly Space – A separate tent shall be earmarked for children. Local administration will provide extra tarpaulins to the shelter co-ordination committee based on requirement.
14. Isolation shelters / Sick room – 1-2 extra tent shall be made functional through local administration to keep any person showing any symptoms of Covid 19 in the temporary shelters or people who were in home isolation and have evacuated to such temporary shelters. However if any inmate is found Covid positive during their stay in temporary shelter or the inmate is more than 50 years age group, they must be sent to the nearby government Covid care center immediately.
15. Food Safety – If a community level kitchen is organized, due care shall be taken for cleaning of the raw food items and hygienic cooking. There shall be a roster of people managing the kitchen who should wear all necessary protective gears (like masks & hand gloves) and should follow all protocols from cleaning, cooking to management of residues / kitchen waste.
16. Menstrual Hygiene Management – For menstrual hygiene management, shelter level provisions shall be made through local administration for safe management and disposal of sanitary napkins / clothes.
17. Waste management – Due care shall be taken to manage and safely dispose of garbage generated in the shelters following guidelines of solid and liquid waste management. Such a site shall be declared as nospiting zone, temporary drains to drain out water safely, and appropriate spraying of disinfection materials through relevant departments / Panchayat shall be made.
18. Monitoring of Temporary shelters – VLMCC members / Panchayat members / VCDC members should be entrusted with the local level monitoring works of such shelters. However the District Administration will nominate one Govt. nodal officer who will be entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring and reporting about such temporary shelters.
19. Feedback mechanism – The camp co-ordination committee will place a box or devise a mechanism for obtaining feedback from the people taking shelter in such camps regarding relief services, specific requirements for Isolation shelters etc. Feedback can be collected by the Gaon Burha and submitted to Local Administration/ Circle office.