Fani’s Fury & Trail of Destruction
Cyclone Fani, that hit India’s east coast on May 3 with the same deadly force as a category 4 hurricane has claimed 49 lives in India so far and forced more than a million people out of their homes. The cyclone has affected 15 million in the states of Odisha and West Bengal and as per initial estimates at least 3 million people have lost their homes and livelihood. The cyclone has increased ocean water flow into Asia’s largest brackish water lake, Chilka, increasing threat to marine life.
Torrential rain, gushing winds and razing ocean have damaged more than 500,000 houses, killed 3.4 million cattle and uprooted millions of trees. The cyclone also destroyed power and telecom infrastructure across Odisha’s costal districts and has left a trail of damaged homes, schools, and businesses.
Sewa International’s partner on the ground, Utkal Bipanna Sahayatha Samithi (UBSS), is operating shelters in Odisha and has served freshly cooked meals to more than 8,000 victims. UBSS has distributed 9.4 tons of flattened rice (chuda), 1.89 tons of sugar candy (gur), 5250 packets of dry food and 415 cartons of cookies (biscuits).
More than 2,000 UBSS volunteers are working in coastal towns and villages of Bhuvaneshwar, Puri, Khorda, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Cuttack and Jajpur districts. They are working with local people to clear roads of debris and removing fallen trees for vehicle movement. They are also working on distributing food and other material.
Sewa Relief Efforts
Sewa International volunteers visited Puri and adjoining areas in Odisha on Saturday, May 4, to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Fani. Sewa International is operating 13 shelters in the three worst-affected districts -- Puri, Khordha, and Cuttack. Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti (UBSS), Sewa’s partner organization and a nonprofit based in Odisha, is coordinating the relief efforts. Sewa volunteers are serving freshly cooked meals in the shelters and distributing drinking water and food packets to people in need. They are also serving the cyclone victims in Bhubaneswar, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Jajpur.
Food & Medicines
UBSS is distributing essentials such as food, medicine, tarpaulin sheets to cover damaged roofs, solar lights, ready-to-wear clothes, school supplies, candles, mosquito repellents and match boxes. It has so far distributed 42,200 tarpaulins and 7500 pieces of Polytene. UBSS is planning to open more shelters and distribution centers.
The village well-known for handicrafts, Raghurajpur (known for woodcraft, palm leaf paintings and stonework) of Puri, and many fishing villages are in complete disarray as artists lost their homes and tools and fishermen have lost their fishing nets and boats. In West Bengal, many weavers have lost their looms.
Villages in Dark
Contacting volunteers on the ground has been a challenge as the telecommunications and electric infrastructure damaged by the rains are yet to be restored in many places. Many villages in Puri may not get electricity for months to come. Water supply is also affected in many places.
Sriram & His Friends and Their Robotics Dream
Sriram, a high school student sent a message to UBSS volunteers about destruction in his hometown, Kakatpur. He met with a UBSS volunteer in December 2018 and had shared his plans to build a robotics team in his school. But Cyclone Fani has derailed his plans for now. Sriram and his friends need help to get back to school and keep their robotics dream alive.
Help Cyclone Fani Victims - Donate to Sewa
www.sewausa.org/donate (In “Donate For Project” dropdown, Select “Cyclone Fani on Eastern India Coast”.)
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