Bhubaneswar: Cyclone Fani tore through coastal Odisha, leaving over 500,000 people homeless and displaced. Over 300,000 mud huts with hay or asbestos or corrugated-sheet roofs have completely collapsed, leaving families with children and elderly population at the mercy of life in the open. Shelter is one of the biggest concerns of the survivors, as they start finding their way to normalcy.
CARE has been working in Odisha for 65 years, making Bhubaneswar an important centre of operations. Based on a rapid-needs assessment conducted by CARE India in Odisha, relief distribution is already planned as indicated by the Government in the district of Khordha and Puri which have been severely affected. CARE is reaching out to 10,000 households in the immediate relief phase of the response. Based on CARE ‘s emergency response mandate, the beneficiaries have been selected from the most marginalised communities residing in the remotest geographies.
“CARE India’s response strategy is firmly based on providing gender-based response during disasters. Our relief kits are customised to meet these requirements. In Puri and Khordha, there is an urgent need for everyday materials like ropes, tarpaulin and floor mats, while women and girls need sanitary napkins and towels. Since water sources are contaminated with debris, water purification tablets have been included in our relief kits,” said Md Wasi Alam, Acting Head – Disaster Management Unit, CARE India.
Crops, acres of agricultural fields and road-side shops have been obliterated. The entire fishing community in Puri has lost its habitations and fishing equipment. This has a serious impact on their income and food security. While addressing the gender specific requirements of women and girls, CARE India will also try and meet the healthcare requirements of adolescent children, lactating mothers and pregnant women.
“An important concern in the wake of such structural destruction is the increase in open defecation because most of the individual household toilets have been damaged. Those still being used don’t have fresh water supply. Therefore, CARE India will start rebuilding and recovery activities soon with 5000 households, and ensure that the local communities are engaged in the reconstruction and cleaning activities, thereby giving them a source of income,” said Shantamay Chatterjee, CARE India’s Regional Programme Director based in Bhubaneshwar.
CARE has been responding to natural disasters across India for decades including the Super Cyclone in 1999 of similar intensity which have ravaged Odisha. Other key interventions include the Bhuj Earthquake and the Tsunami response in Tamil Nadu where CARE India was involved for over a decade in relief, recovery and rehabilitation. CARE’s emergency relief teams are gender-balanced and trained in emergency response. With climate shift the increased frequency of Cyclones affecting the Eastern Coast of India is being responded by the organisation with higher efficiency and working towards building community resilience.