ATLANTA (December 6, 1999) - After weeks of exposure to contaminated water, families in the cyclone-affected counties of Ersama and Kujanga in Orissa state, India, finally can drink and bathe without the threat of contracting diseases. Last week, CARE installed two high-capacity, water-treatment plants in the ravaged district of Jagatsinghpur, where more than 8,000 people are estimated to have died in the recent cyclone. The purified water will service about 90,000 daily.
"It was amazing," said Tom Alcedo, director of CARE's programs in India. "Once the big, overhead taps were turned on, everybody ran to take a bath. Since many people were too afraid - rightfully so - of bathing in the contaminated water, it was their first proper bath in more than a month."
On loan from CARE's office in Bangladesh, the movable water-purification plants are capable of treating water from ponds and wells at the rate of 2,600 gallongs liters per hour. The plants each will serve 15 villages, reaching a total of 90,000 people throughout Ersama and Kujanga. CARE has constructed a collapsible 10,400 gallon water tank to store the purified water.
With flood waters receding, aid workers finally gained access last week to the counties of Ersama and Kujanga, the last of the affected areas of Orissa to be reached with urgently needed relief supplies.
To date, CARE has committed more than $8 million worth of food and other assistance - such as plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets and utensils - to those affected by the cyclones that struck the coastal state of Orissa in October. In addition, more than 1,000 medical kits have been distributed to village health centers in the devastated districts of Cuttack, Kendrapara, Baleshwar and Jagatsinghpur.
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives and some 7.5 million have been left homeless following the cyclones that struck Orissa on October 17 and 29.
CONTACT: Amy Lynn O'Toole, (404) 681-4579, ext. 383