Initial Emergency Relief Assistance
During the initial relief phase Catholic Relief Services and Caritas reached more than 700,000 persons in nearly 600 villages in Orissa with 6,000 metric tons of food aid from the US Government. Additional non-food relief items included more than $1 million worth of household utensils, blankets and plastic sheeting donated by Catholic Relief Services and other Caritas members. The agency also provided logistical and technical assistance to Caritas and its network of more than 500 volunteers during the relief phase.
The Rebuilding Begins
Catholic Relief Services is working to help the people of Orissa recovering from the cyclone and floods that struck in October, 1999. This is the second phase of relief assistance, following the initial emergency relief phase. To help with the recovery, Catholic Relief Services, in coordination with Caritas, distributed household recovery packages to more than 45,000 families. Each family received food rations including vegetable seeds, blankets, plastic sheeting, hand tools, clothing and cooking utensils. Each village received several watering cans for cultivation during the dry season.
Thus far Catholic Relief Services has committed $500,000 of its privately donated funds and has raised $1.1 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Orissa emergency. Catholic Relief Services and its local partners are planning agriculture rehabilitation efforts in Orissa. A rehabilitation program will include sanitizing contaminated wells, distributing fishing nets and tools, and the construction of cyclone shelters and cyclone proof housing.
Long Term Rehabilitation
The distribution of family kits is almost complete. The agency has distributed more than 27,000 household and vegetable seed kits provided by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. CRS also provided another 15,000 household and seed kits with private funds.
Additionally, the agency is working on a program that will supply fishing nets and rowboats to several hundred families of coastal and inland fishermen. Their boats were smashed and nets were lost during the cyclone and tidal wave. They often exist on the fringes of society and the economy. Many are too poor to replace the equipment and their subsistence existence precludes them from credit. CRS will commit $130,000 in private funds for this program.
Catholic Relief Services has been working in India for more than 50 years. The agency has a total of five offices in the country, located in Delhi, Lucknow, Calcutta, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.