Development, relief and church groups in India are preparing to respond after cyclone Laila hit the coast of southern India’s Andhra Pradesh state on Thursday 20 May 2010.
The category one cyclone unleashed heavy rains and 55-75mph winds across 777 villages. More than one million people have been affected.
Thanks to the Andhra Pradesh government’s efforts to evacuate 87,000 vulnerable people into schools, government buildings, cyclone shelters and other safe centres on 19 May, loss of life has been significantly minimised, says the international NGO, Christian Aid.
"If the cyclone had hit Bihar where communities and government are less able to cope, this could have been a lot worse," says Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, Christian Aid’s regional emergency manager.
"Fortunately, the government in Andhra Pradesh is able to prepare for disasters, and this has helped to save lives," he adds.
However, homes and livelihoods have been hit, standing crops of banana, betel and mango are completely destroyed, vital trees uprooted and 1,490 villages are now without power and water.
Christian Aid says its local partners report that thousands of people are in need of food, sanitation and drinking water.
As the extent of the damage and the needs of those affected begin to emerge, relief and development organisations are already mounting their response.
CASA, an organisation with extensive experience of emergency relief activities, is already establishing feeding centres in five coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the Society for National Integration through Rural Development (SNIRD) and the Confederation of Voluntary Association (COVA) are assessing needs in camps and in villages that have not been reached by the government and military.
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