India

Cyclone Ockhi Maroons Forest Dwellers of Kanyakumari

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When the relief operation post cyclone Ockhi remained largely focused on the fishing community, another small segment of tribal community living in the reserved forest area beyond Pechiparai dam in Kanyakumari district were nearly forgotten.

Dr. Arockiaraj from Caritas India based in Tamil Nadu said that the plight of these tribal families was brought to the attention of the Government, days later by NGOs working nearby. They could not be initially reached as the roads leading to their habitat were obstructed by uprooted trees.

The fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Kerala braced the massive cyclone Ockhi on November 30.

The cyclone uprooted tens of thousands of trees along the adjoining coastal villages of Kanyakumari and Trivandrum causing extensive damages to houses and power lines.

Cyclone relief camps were established in places namely Villisalimalai, Puravilai, Thachamalai and Manalodai.

Caritas supported 164 tribal families; of whom, 19 are elderly, 7 widows, 4 single women and 22 small children, informed Dr. Arockiaraj, the south zonal manager of Caritas India.

Based on the need assessment conducted by Marthandam Integrated Development Society (MIDS), a local NGO partner, Caritas India is helping restore shelters of 164 families in Alamparai, Valiamalai and Manalodai hamlets.

For a single mother to an infant child, whose hut was completely damaged, Mrs. Mananagadi of Valiamalai says that having her home restored in matter of days is incomprehensible.