ATLANTA (November 1, 1999) - The international relief and development organization CARE is providing emergency aid to people in Orissa, India, hit by a second devastating cyclone in less than two weeks. The government of Orissa has asked for assistance with food, essential clothes, medicines and household items. CARE was already providing food for half a million people in Orissa's Ganjam district as well as shelter for 10,000 families following the first cyclone.
"These people have lost everything," explains Nita Hassan, CARE's program officer for Asia. "Our initial work must be to ensure that they have shelter, and enough food and clean water. After that, we will look at how we can help them in the longer term."
The second cyclone started to batter the shores of Orissa, on the Bay of Bengal, on Friday night with winds of over 160 miles per hour driving waves up to 18 feet high. Vast tracts of coastal land are submerged, more than 200,000 homes are reported to have been destroyed, communication lines and electricity supplies severely damaged, and hundreds are feared dead. More than 2 million families are affected. Many have been driven from their homes and have no food or drinking water. Many towns and villages are still cut off by flooding in the ten most affected districts, which comprise the rice bowl of the state. Cash crops worth more than $23 million have been destroyed.
Special Food Shipment Arrives Today
CARE's first special train shipment of food arrived today, the first food aid to reach Orissa following the second cyclone. It will be enough to feed 22,000 families for one month. CARE also is routing additional food from Calcutta in West Bengal and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
CARE has committed $2.4 million in food assistance so far to the victims of the cyclone, plus $264,000 in shelter and other non-food assistance. It is now intensifying efforts to help people in the Cuttack district, the worst hit by the second cyclone.
CARE staff from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh are now reaching the affected areas. They are working with staff from CARE's operations in West Bengal in overseeing the delivery of relief supplies, in close coordination with the government of Orissa.
CARE has worked in India for almost 50 years. It implements projects in nutrition, health care, small enterprise development and basic girls' education, and provides emergency relief as needed. CARE works in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajastan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. It also works in the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Nepal.
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