Britain helps to "get Orissa back on its feet" minister announces new aid package in wake of cyclone

Report
from Department for International Development
Published on 07 Jan 2000
International Development Minister George Foulkes today announced a new package of assistance for Orissa, to provide long-term support after the devastation caused by October's cyclone.

The Department for International Development (DFID) will provide £25million over the next six months, to support health and education systems, help restore agricultural production and enable people to start to return to work.

The funding, which is based on the recommendations of a DFID mission to Orissa, comes on top on emergency assistance of £3million, provided by DFID in the immediate aftermath of the cyclones.

Mr Foulkes said: "We were able to respond quickly and effectively in the early days of the crisis. Now our priority is to help get Orissa back on its feet.

"We are conscious that it is the poor who were overwhelmingly affected by this disaster, and our efforts now are focused on rehabilitation. We are making sure children can continue with their education, by rebuilding schools, and replacing textbooks destroyed in the cyclone, and we are helping to replace irrigation systems so that agricultural production can get back on track.

"One of the most pressing needs immediately after the cyclone was the prevention of disease," added Mr Foulkes. "This need still remains, and a large part of our assistance will be focused on supplying essential drugs, and supporting immunisation programmes.

"The eyes of the world - and of the TV cameras - may have moved on, but we have not forgotten Orissa, and have demonstrated our commitment to its recovery and long-term development."

Notes to Editors:

Orissa State was hit by a powerful cyclone on Friday 29 October, the second within two weeks. Damage was severe and widespread, affecting an estimated 15 million people and making 2 million homeless. Hundreds of villages were cut off by flood waters, and harvests were destroyed.

An assessment team from DFID visited Orissa in November, where they identified areas of pressing need, as well as assessing the humanitarian response on the ground.

DFID has an established programme of assistance in Orissa, centred around public sector, power sector and fiscal reform, education, water, health, rural development and urban poverty reduction.