Christian Aid has launched the India Cyclone Appeal in response to Cyclone Phailin, reported to be almost half the size of India, which hit the east coastal states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh this afternoon (12 October). Over 500,000 people have already been evacuated, seeking refuge in government shelters and schools, and 12 million people are likely to be affected in the aftermath.
Christian Aid has also released £100,000 emergency funds to support the immediate response and its partner organisation Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) are present in five districts of Odisha and are providing food, torches, batteries, raincoats and water purification tablets to affected communities. CASA have already helped 46,000 people to 52 multipurpose cyclone shelters, which have been built since the 1999 super cyclone when nearly 15,000 people died.
Christian Aid and its local partner organisations CASA, VICALP, SNIRD and SEEDS have been working with the coastal communities in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for almost two decades and have established an extensive network of Disaster Management Task Forces all along the coast.
They have increased the resilience of coastal communities, preparing them for emergencies such as Cyclone Phailin, as well as teaching them about life-saving search and rescue activities, and the availability of stockpiles of emergency relief supplies.
According to meteorologists, Cyclone Phailin could be the strongest tropical storm worldwide this year, and the fiercest to strike India for fourteen years. It comes just over three months since flooding in northern India left 6,000 people dead following landslides and incessant rains that destroyed homes, wrecked roads and cut off vital water and power supplies.
Ram Kishan, Christian Aid Emergency Programme Manager South Asia, said: “Christian Aid partners including CASA have been helping vulnerable communities in the path of the storm evacuate to cyclone shelters and higher ground, as well as preparing to provide essential food and non-food relief, such as sanitation kits.
“Early warning systems in the area have proved very effective and saved thousands of lives already.
“Our main concern now is loss of shelter, harvests and livelihoods, which will take affected communities – mainly those relying on farming and fishing – a long time to recover from. When a disaster like this strikes, it is the poor and marginalised that are most affected and without assets to fall back on they will find it extremely difficult to meet their basic needs in the coming months.”
Christian Aid and its partners continue to monitor the situation and remain in constant contact with local government authorities in the coastal districts.
You can donate to Christian Aid's cyclone appeal here: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/secure/india-cyclone-appeal-2013.aspx?cu...