Humanitarian need after cyclone huge, says Christian Aid

By agency reporter
October 20, 2013

Despite a successful evacuation effort that avoided the high death toll which resulted from a 1999 super cyclone, there is still massive humanitarian need in the Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, says UK-based churches' global development agency Christian Aid.

More than 230,000 houses were destroyed up to 25 kms inland when Cyclone Phailin hit the east coastal states on Saturday afternoon, leaving over 1.15 million people homeless.

In addition, more than 300,000 hectares of harvest-ready crops including rice, maize and vegetables have been washed away, leaving people without a source of income or stocks of food for the coming year.

Continuous rainfall has since caused extensive flooding in Odisha, leaving tens of thousands of people marooned. Inland and further north,a flood warning has been issued in Bihar state with heavy rain forecast to continue.

Christian Aid has launched an India Cyclone Appeal in response to the situation, and released £100,000 in emergency funds for immediate needs.

More than 900,000 people were evacuated from affected areas, and given refuge in government shelters and schools. In the aftermath, some 12 million people are likely to be affected overall.

Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and VICALP, two local Christian Aid partner organisations, are operating in five districts of Odisha, providing food for 10,000 people a day, as well as supplying much-needed temporary shelter to affected communities.

Yeeshu Shukla, Christian Aid Emergency Programme Officer, commented: "There are immediate needs in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, especially for food and shelter. Food is being distributed, but there’s an issue of access to many communities that are now cut off."

"Clean drinking water is also scarce, and 30,000 coconut trees, that thousands of people rely on for livelihoods, have been uprooted.

"Our partners are currently assessing livelihood and shelter needs, and with additional funds will be able to support livelihood recovery as well as providing temporary shelter for the short-term and more permanent homes for the long-term."

[Ekk/3]

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