India

One month on the continuing needs of Orissa's cyclone victims

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Exactly one month ago, in the early morning of 29 October, one of the worst cyclones ever recorded in South Asia battered the coastline of the eastern Indian state of Orissa. The state had barely recovered from an earlier cyclone that had killed over 200 people. But the new super-cyclone was much, much worse.
One month on, the real impact of the cyclone is only beginning to emerge:
  • an official death toll of over 10,000, with a final estimated total of up to 25,000 dead
  • an estimated 2.5 million people made homeless
  • an estimated 300,000 dead cattle, oxen and other animals
  • thousands of destroyed crops and once fertile farmland inundated with salt
  • 20,000 schools destroyed or damaged, together with pre-schools and health centres
  • destruction of the fishing industry along 250 kilometres of coastline
  • an estimated $US100 million worth of damage to crops and infrastructure.
Relief and development agency CARE International was one of the first non-governmental organisations to start humanitarian relief operations in Orissa.

Working from its headquarters in Delhi, CARE India has deployed staff from its Orissa office and from the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. CARE India has supplied food, medical kits, plastic sheeting and essential items to thousands of destitute people in cooperation with the government of Orissa.

CARE India has drawn on the resources of the international network of member agencies of CARE International, including CARE International UK. To date it has committed £2.9 million in food aid and £1.5 million in non-food aid with another £3.75 million worth of aid being negotiated. CARE International UK has raised funds from the UK Department for International Development and through the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal to the British public, which has currently raised over £4.35 million.

Will Day, CARE International's UK director, who has just returned from Orissa, says: 'I have never seen anywhere so completely devastated. Trees and telegraph poles have been bent like straws, once strong walls are now waist-height rubble. People have been left terrified and traumatised. The destruction and its aftermath make me more determined than ever that CARE International must continue its commitment to working with poor people in Orissa.'

For more information please contact Antony Robbins or Kate Alexander on 0171 379 5247 or, out-of-hours, 07788 106890 or 0956 597978.

Notes to editors:

CARE International has worked in India for almost 50 years. It operates nutrition, healthcare, small enterprise development and girls' education projects, as well as emergency relief as needed. CARE works in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajastan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

CARE International UK is part of the CARE International confederation of humanitarian organisations.