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Caritas India handed over cyclone resilient houses to the community

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Caritas India handed over the keys of 308 newly constructed cyclone resilient houses to the vulnerable community at Puri District of Odisha State. In an inauguration ceremony on 21st November 2021, the community has taken possession of these houses.

Puri District is located at the east coastline of the country that is frequently impacted by high tides and cyclones. In 2019, extremely severe cyclone Fani hit the Puri coast with a wind speed of around 175 km/ph causing extensive damage and impacting life and property.

“Caritas India has collaborated with the state government, OSDMA and elected members and successfully completed construction of 308 resilient cyclone shelters for the poor people in this district,” shared Fr. Paul Moonjely, Executive Director of Caritas India. He informed the gathering that Caritas India has adopted a community-driven approach while constructing these houses and today everyone is celebrating this success. Pandemic has put us in many challenges and problems in our life but despite so many trouble people helped us inbuilt their houses and that’s the main purpose of community participation and vision and mission of Caritas India.”

Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Most Rev. John Barwa appreciated Caritas India for being always at the forefront to help the needy and downtrodden people during a disaster or in a normal situation. He said, Caritas not only response during a disaster but it promotes and empowers people after the disaster which we are seeing today. The basic needs for safe shelter have been met for the most vulnerable people including socially excluded groups and persons with special needs in the villages where Caritas India intervened.

Hon’ble Minister of State, Shri Tusharkanti Behera acknowledged Caritas India response and rehabilitation to the ST/ SC community affected during the Fani cyclone in the district. He mentioned that 308 houses constructed in inaccessible areas were not an easy task for the organization. Selecting the poorest of the poor family and giving a roof on their head is appreciable and these houses will go a long way for the people. He also mentioned that the state government is working on resilience in technology and information where Caritas India can explore and collaborate through multi-stakeholder institutions including governments, civil society and community participation to influence shelter policies and practices.

Hon’ble MLA Shri Umakanta Samtray expressed his gratitude to Caritas India for choosing the most affected area of Puri district and supporting the people with shelter and other livelihood options. He recalled the post-cyclone visit and experienced the pain of people who lost their complete houses. The state government tried to fulfil their needs, but many have been left out. But Caritas India has taken steps to support the families with livelihood and shelter to withstand the crisis.

“I dreamt of having a house for my children, the financial support and technical assistance provided by Caritas India has helped me to construct the houses in my village,” shared Smt. Rasmita Bhoi from Katapada village at Trilachanpur GP. She and her family lost their house completely and there were no places to protect their heads. For almost 2 years they were staying in a polythene covered shack. Now the family is happy to receive this house and especially children are safer than before.

Another beneficiary, Smt. Sukanti Behera, from village – haladipadar, Trilachan pur GP. expressed her happiness after receiving this house. Having their houses in riverside they were unable to live on the ground and after Fani, they lost entire houses. This house gives them peace and happiness in their life.

In the aftermath of cyclone Fani 2019, Caritas India intervene with the relief response and recovery phase and more than 50,000 population covered in relief response with shelter, food, hygiene and livelihood restoration. 308 new shelters were constructed across the four-block (Konaso, Puri Sadar, Brahmagiri and Krushnaprashad) and 80 permanent shelters were constructed with disaster-resilient features in Konaso Block. These houses construction was successful due to the benevolent support of Caritas Germany,

In Odisha, Caritas India working in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction, Nutrition & Food Security and Livelihood restoration with a special focus on the most marginalized group in the state. The shelter construction work was undertaken in 2019-20 and aims to meet larger affected and marginalized populations to provide a basic shelter. It ensured that special resilient features were incorporated in terms of quality, technical speciation of construction materials, and their usage.

The program was also attended by Mr. Anjan Bag – Thematic Lead – Humanitarian Aid & DRR and Mr. Nutan Kumar – State Program Associate – Odisha. Apart from the dignitaries, local elected sarpanch, ward members of all the intervention villages attended the handing over ceremony.