India

Assam Cyclone - ASIN32 Appeal

Attachments

Appeal Target: US$ 353,534
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 248,340

Geneva, 23 May 2003

Dear Colleagues,

A short but devastating storm with torrential rains lashed the areas of Dhubri, Dhemaji, and Sointpur districts of Assam on 22 April 2003. Mancachar Sub division of Dhubri district situated in the western corner of Assam and bordering Bangladesh, bore the brunt of the fury. The whole area is also mult-hazard prone as earthquakes, cyclones and high floods have created havoc in this area in the past. The latest cyclone has added to the miseries of the State, which is already in a dire situation economically due to various other problems such as riots, insurgencies, etc.

The cyclone, although brief, left a trail of death and destruction that prompted many to call it the worst storm to hit the district of Dhubri for forty years. The district authorities are providing relief to the most affected but it is insufficient to cover the vast needs. Some NGOs and several medical teams have been working round-the-clock to restore some semblance of normalcy. Almost all the affected villages are situated in remote areas with a very poor communication network.

After consultation amongst the ACT members in India, is was agreed that ACT member Lutheran World Service India (LWSI) would respond to this emergency. LWSI was able to provide immediate relief in the form of BP-5 compact food and non-food items. LWSI is proposing a post crisis programme comprising reconstruction & repair of buildings, community disaster preparedness, livelihood/food security and food for work projects.

Project Completion Date: 30 April 2004

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
353,534
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
105,194
Balance Requested from ACT Network
248,340

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, Thor-Arne Prois (phone +41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, Mieke Weeda (phone +41 22 791 6035 or mobile phone +41 79 285 2916)

Thor-Arne Prois
Director, ACT

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • The Lutheran World Federation/Department for World Service India Programme(ACT/LWS India)

II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER AND PARTNER INFORMATION

The Lutheran World Federation / Department for World Service-India Program (ACT/LWS-India) is a relief and development organisation, established with the mandate to alleviate the suffering of distressed groups irrespective of caste, religion, gender or political affiliation. ACT/LWS India has been implementing Integrated Development and Disaster Response projects since 1974 in several States of India. LWS India program continues to receive strong support and co-operation from the respective State Governments and International donors. LWS India is a nominated member of the State level High Powered Committee on Disaster Management. LWF being one of the sponsor organisations of the 'Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief', LWS India designs its intervention accordingly and whenever feasible LWS India follows the Minimum Sphere Standard in disaster response.

III. DESCRIPRTION OF EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

A short but devastating storm with torrential rains lashed the areas of Dhubri, Dhemaji, and Sointpur districts of Assam on 22 April 2003. Mancachar Sub division of Dhubri district situated in the western corner of Assam and bordering Bangladesh, bore the brunt of the fury. The district has a total geographical area of 2,838 km2 with a population of 1,634,589 as per the census of 2001. Most of the district is flood-prone as the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries flow through the Hatsingimari sub-division of Dhubri. The whole area is also mult-hazard prone as earthquakes, cyclones and high floods have created havoc in this area in the past. The latest cyclone has added to the miseries of the State, which is already in a dire situation economically due to various other problems such as riots, insurgencies, etc.

In Dhubri district as many as eight villages of Kalapani and Fekumari gram panchayats in Mancachar Block were almost flattened. Official sources put the death toll at 48 with 1,500 persons injured of which 1,300 were children, while 6 persons including two children were reported missing. Local press reported that people and cattle were tossed up in the air, houses and trees were blown away and electricity and telephone lines torn down. Most of the deaths were caused by houses collapsing, flying debris and falling trees, etc. The eight villages that took the worst battering were Nadia, Palangitola, Baliabeel, Topopara, Bhurakata, Pipulbari Pt.-I, Pipulbari Pt.-II, Basukhata, and Dhonua. According to the local press releases some 4,000 houses have been destroyed, 5,000 families rendered homeless and an estimated 1,800 livestock killed.

Current situation

9 relief camps have been set up in the above mentioned villages and seriously injured persons were taken to the Goalpara Civil Hospital and the Public Health Centres nearby. Those who have lost their dwellings are being sheltered at relief camps, school buildings and other available places. Government boats and vehicles were used for carrying food and medicines to the needy areas. The Army was also deployed for rescue, delivery of food and medical care services for the affected people. Most of the water sources in the marooned villages have been damaged or destroyed and there is an urgent need for safe drinking water. The local government provided food rations - 5 kgs rice, 3 kgs pressed rice and 30g of molasses to each cyclone affected family. The Governor of Assam and the Chief Minister visited the worst affected area and announced ex gratia that Rs.50,000 should be given to those families who have lost family members.

Impact of human lives

The cyclone, although brief, left a trail of death and destruction that prompted many to call it the worst storm to hit the district of Dhubri for forty years. The district authorities provided relief to the most affected but it was insufficient to cover the vast needs. Some NGOs and several medical teams were working round-the-clock to restore some semblance of normalcy. Almost all the affected villages are situated in remote areas with a very poor communication network which may be one of the reasons that few NGOs came forward with assured support.

Response from ACT Partners in India

LWS India contacted ACT members Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI) for co-ordinating purposes. UELCI reported that they were not planning to respond and CASA felt that the LWS India intervention would be sufficient..

Rapid Response from ACT/LWS India

The Deputy Commissioner, Dhubri district after visiting the affected requested assistance from LWS India to mobilise baby food, protein biscuits, clothing materials and temporary roofing materials for the affected families. The ACT/LWS India Disaster Response Team was already established in the area implementing rehabilitation projects for the flood victims under ASIN23. Consequently, an assessment team was rapidly formed and immediately went into action in the affected areas. The immediate needs identified by the LWS India assessment team were dispatched to the area within a few days of the disaster. These items included: protein biscuits, family kits consisting adult clothing (saree, lungi, dhoti and children's garments), bed sheets, and plastic sheets for temporary roofing.

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