In anticipation of Cyclone Amphan, many lakhs of coastal villages were evacuated to safety before the deadly storm tore apart homes and shops, destroyed huge areas of farmland, uprooted thousands of trees and flattening electricity poles. Women leaders and young volunteers, trained by ActionAid Association, are supporting affected communities by providing food relief and hygiene supplies. Debabrat Patra, ActionAid Association’s Associate Director, leading humanitarian responses in India and our engagements in Odisha, says, “Many lives were saved by evacuating people to cyclone shelters, but the worry now is that Coronavirus will spread rapidly.”
More than 57,000 homes were severely damaged or blown away in the East Medinipur district of West Bengal. Reports from the field say that 70-80% of the houses in communities we support had lost roofs. Fields are under a foot of water and all the crops are either badly destroyed or washed away. Recently harvested grains have been damaged by flood water. Communities taking shelter in the relief camps are mostly getting food but are in very unhygienic conditions. In Kendrapara district of Odisha, the storm surge broke through river embankments and flooded farmland, leaving 4,000 hectares of crop damaged with salt water.
Disaster risk reduction volunteers and women leaders in coastal areas of West Bengal and Odisha are supporting vulnerable families with food and hygiene supplies. In Kolkata, at least 15 people have died, roads were flooded, and millions were left without power. Our allies report that the most deprived slum areas were the hardest hit.
We are already working with 5,000 homeless families, 1,000 domestic workers and 2,500 families of informal workers living in slum areas, providing food support as part of the organization’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Volunteers and women leaders worked in close collaboration with the local authorities to evacuate people to safety. ActionAid is coordinating support at cyclone shelters, ensuring families have access to food and medicine, besides separate areas for women and girls. Please support our work. Donate now.
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