India: Cyclone : IFRC situation report no. 1

preliminary appeal no. 20/96 situation report no. 01 period covered: 8th - 13th November 1996
Search, rescue and relief operations are in full swing in cyclone stricken Andhra Pradesh . The State RC Branch, with material support from Indian RC HQ, has already begun emergency relief services in the area and is preparing to extend its assistance. The Indian RC/Federation assessment team has almost completed its survey: its findings will form the basis of a detailed appeal.

The context

On Wednesday 6 November, the Godavari Delta of Andhra Pradesh was hit by a high velocity hurricane, violent rains and 8 to 10 feet high tidal waves which, according to official sources, left more than 700 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. The East Godavari district was the worst hit , accounting for 70% of the total damage. Two villages - Bhairvapada and Bulusutippa in Eastern Godavari district -- were reportedly totally wiped out. The total population affected by this cyclone is estimated at seven million.

Latest events

As of 11 November, the Indian Coast Guard service was still searching for missing persons and Defence Force helicopters were providing food and water packets and medicines for the relief operations. In rural areas, dead bodies are being dug out from under the debris of collapsed houses and from deep mud left behind by the tidal waves. About 450,000 houses have been partially or completely destroyed, leaving tens of thousands without a roof over their heads. As of 13 November, more than 190,000 people were housed in 790 relief camps. There are 324 medical teams and 217 para medical teams providing assistance in the area . About 353,000 hectares of paddy (rice) crop, 56,000 hectares of other crops and more than 70,000 hectares of coconut plantations have been completely destroyed.

Government action

State and Defence Forces medical teams are attending to the medical needs of the affected population and a round the clock operation to restore transport and communication facilities is in progress. The power supply is being restored in 350 villages. Clearance of roads is already completed, except in Mundivaram, Polavaram and Katrenikona Mandals in East Godavari District.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

Red Cross volunteers are helping in rescue and relief operations in the affected areas. Following an aerial survey of the affected areas, the Andhra Pradesh State Red Cross Branch began emergency relief through its district branches. The Secretary General of the Indian Red Cross is visiting the cyclone hit areas together with Federation assessment team. An initial Rs. 2.5 million (approx. CHF 87,000 from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund) was released to Andhra Pradesh State Red Cross Branch from the National Headquarters for the purchase of emergency supplies. In addition, the Headquarters has already despatched relief items to the State Branch, as follows :

Emergency rations 16 MT
Cotton blankets 4500 Pces
Woollen blankets 400 Pces
Cloth sheeting 3000 Mtrs
Used clothes 15,000 Pces
Polythene sheeting 50 Rolls
Soap cakes 40 Kgs
Petticoats 250 Pces
Baby blankets 600 Pces
Ladies clothing 400 Pces
Children kits 1000 Pces
Milk powder 3000 Kgs
Cooking utensils 500 Pces
Towels 1000 Pces
Cotton cloth 1000 Mtrs
Rice 2000 Kgs
Tents assorted 400 Pces

Outstanding needs

Although the assessment mission has not yet been completed, the Indian Red Cross Society is already preparing to provide :

1. immediate temporary shelter in tents for the homeless;
2. drinking water ;
3. bleaching powder and/or chlorine tablets to purify water;
4. emergency food and milk powder;
5. cotton and wool blankets, and bed sheets;
6. clothing;
7. vaccines and preventive and curative medicines to prevent the out-break of diseases
(cholera, malaria, diarrhoea and dysentery, jaundice), ;
8. utensils for cooking, and kitchen sets;
9. soap and towels.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media The Indian Red Cross is co-ordinating closely with the Government.

Conclusion

The assessment mission will continue through Thursday, 14 November. Once its evaluation is received a detailed Appeal will be issued. A tentative option is for IRCS/Federation to provide a basic food relief package consisting of rice, dhal and oil to approximately 100,000 people currently residing in the relief centres, but this needs to be confirmed by the survey. Cash contributions are encouraged and the Federation thanks those National Societies which have already contributed to the Preliminary Appeal.

Luc Voeltzel Jerry Talbot
Head, Director,
Appeals & Reports Service Asia & Pacific Department
(For further information on the SitRep, please contact the Desk Officer,
Nina de Rochefort at the Secretariat, Tel : + 41.22 / 730.42.52)
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