Cyclone Fani response in Odisha

Report
from Humanitarian Aid International
Published on 10 May 2019

4. OPERATIONAL DETAILS:

The proposed activities shall be undertaken in the most affected areas of Khurda and Puri Districts — Delanga, Balianta, Konark, Kanas, Satyabadi, Brahmagiri, Krushnaprasad, Chilika,
Bhusandpur and Bhubaneswar as well as Puri urban slums with around 1 million populations.

5. THE CONTEXT

A low-pressure area was formed over east equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) and adjoining southeast of Bay of Bengal (BoB) on 25.04.2019 intensifying into a Severe Cyclonic Storm over southeast & adjoining southwest BoB. It further intensified into Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ over west central & adjoining southwest of Bay of Bengal on 01.05.2019 hitting one of the poorest coastal states of India - Odisha. The Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ made landfall on the Odisha Coast south of Puri on 3 May, 2019 and the eye of the system was completely moved into land by 1000 hrs at the wind speed of 175-185, gusting up to 205 kmph.
Efforts made/ Resources mobilized by State Government of Odisha along with NGOs and other agencies have successfully evacuated more than One million people to safer places in a record time to save their life. However, the strong wind of more than 200 km /hr has caused extensive damage to the infrastructure and people’s assets, such as water supply, electricity and the weak houses of the poor rural and urban communities. The lifeline of the state including the state capital is still under darkness with electricity, Internet and communication line cut off completely.

The death toll has risen to 50 as per the media reports, however, the state government acknowledges only 29. A large number of cattle are lost and the heavy wind and rain damaged the kharif crop, vegetable cultivation and cash crops too. The horticulture is worst affected, the riping mangoes have fallen off and the crop is almost destroyed causing a severe setback to the economy. The internal road blockades are still a major challenge to fasten the relief and rehabilitation operations. The devastating cyclone has shaken the backbone of coastal Odisha and killed the hope and dreams of people in rural as well as urban slums.

The cyclone has damaged almost all the kuccha houses, polythene roofed houses, tin and asbestos roofed houses in the area and made more than 60% families homeless. The major source of income from coconut orchards has been devastated making more than 35% people out of their livelihoods. The most vulnerable section of the affected community includes the women, the children, the elderly people and the persons with disability.

Sanitary and hygiene conditions are extremely poor in the affected slums as toilets have been collapsed and damaged. Drinking water sources have been heavily contaminated; even the village ponds have fallen trees, debris and dead aquatics. Families have lost their household belongings (clothes, utensils, food grains etc) under the collapsed structures, Children have lost their study materials and their books, notebooks, pen, and pencils have been crushed into pieces. They have been deprived of food and drinking water since days. Families have lost their clothes, their accessories including bed, bed sheets, furniture and others and are living in the debris of their own assets. The state and district administration along with local civil society and panchayatiraj institutions have been able to get some 1.1 million people evacuated soon after the warning was made by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and prior to the land fall of Cyclone FANI. The massive evacuation was possible due to the improved community awareness created over the years of effort by the government and non government humanitarian agencies backed by robust systems and processes put in place to evacuate and providing temporary shelters in some 850 Multi Purpose Cyclone Shelters ( MPCS) built during last twenty years with investments coming from the state as well as the civil society. Now soon after the cyclone when the evacuated people begin to return to their houses they are finding the huge devastation and los of almost everything. They could save their lives (that is important) but they seem to have lost the means to live. They had released the livestock while evacuating hoping the animals will find their own safe place to survive. Now on return to their homes they begin scrambling to search their livestock dead or alive.

The affected people are yet to receive dry foods, sufficient drinking water, immediate survival kits, sanitation aids, first aid etc. from the government. The restoration work by the government has delayed in delivering the minimum survival requirements of the people. Also, the food provided through community shelters/ kitchen is not sufficient.

The government response:

  • Free kitchen extended for another 15 days, most kitchens running the MPCSs.

  • The State Government announced the rehabilitation package for the cyclone victims.
    The beneficiaries will get INR 95,100 for fully damaged houses under rural housing schemes. Similarly the families having partially damaged houses will get INR 5,200 and INR 3,200 for nominal repair

  • The affected families in Puri and Khurda districts will get 50 Kg rice, INR 2000/- and a polythene each

  • Additional one-month pension to the beneficiaries in the affected areas under Social Security Scheme