India

CARE Helps Victims of Orissa Cyclones Resume Planting And Fishing

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Thousands of families in the Indian state receive vegetable seeds and tool kits
ATLANTA (February 4, 2000) -- The international relief and development organization CARE is helping families in the district of Orissa, India, recover from deadly cyclones - which struck the region on October 17 and 29 -- by distributing seeds for planting and providing grants for the purchase of boats.

"The distribution of seeds has become the top priority for rehabilitation," explains Nita Hassan, CARE's program officer for Asia. "It's essential for farmers to plant seeds in time for the next harvest in the spring."

Working with a group of non-governmental organizations, CARE has helped to distribute more than 50,000 pounds of vegetable seeds and 12,000 sets of tool kits to 40,000 vulnerable families. An additional 30,000 tool kits soon will be available to help more families re-establish their livelihoods.

CARE is focusing its recovery efforts on 11 counties in the four worst-affected districts - Puri, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur - which experienced heavy flooding and destruction from the more severe cyclone that struck on October 29. Considered the rice and vegetable bowl of the state, the entire coastal area suffered millions of dollars worth of damage to its crops.

Orissa's nearly 300 miles of coastline along the Bay of Bengal is home to a large fishing community. Some 40,000 fishing families lost everything - including their boats and equipment - during the second cyclone which generated 160 mile-per-hour gusts of wind and 20-foot high waves.

CARE is helping the fishing communities purchase and build boats by organizing them into groups to share resources. To obtain a boat, groups of five families pool their money together and CARE funds the difference in cost. CARE also is providing the fishers with fishing nets.

"By using this system, 300 boats are able to help 1,500 families regain their livelihoods," notes Hassan. "This way CARE can maximize impact and reach more people."

The cyclones severely affected the lives of some 15 million people, leaving more than 10,000 people dead and more than 7 million people homeless.

CARE is one of the world's largest private relief and development organizations, with projects in more than 60 countries. CARE's work in India began on March 6, 1950. It now implements projects in nutrition, health care, small enterprise development and basic and girls' education, and provides emergency relief as needed. CARE's offices in India have a staff of 475. They work in eight states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajastan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. CARE also works in the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Nepal.

CONTACT: Amy Lynn O'Toole, 404-681-4579 ext. 453