Orissa cyclone emergency update 01 Feb 2000

Report
from Oxfam
Published on 01 Feb 2000
The situation in affected areas continues to improve, with road links being restored, public and private transport back to normal and telecommunications connected. Electricity supplies will, however, take up to a year to fully restore.
Most of the families who had been living by roadsides have returned to their villages in the Ganjam, Puri and Cuttack districts. With the availability of straw from the harvest of damaged paddy fields, many families have been able to thatch their roofs. However, this will only last until the monsoon season returns.

The overall health situation in these districts has stabilised. There has been a marked decrease in cases of illness although in some of the tribal villages of Ganjam the incidence of malaria has increased and bed nets have been requested.

Market prices of vegetables have stabilised at a much lower level than of 4 weeks ago and the variety of vegetables and fruits available at village level markets has also shown marked improvement.

Oxfam's programme

Winter vegetable and crop seeds, as well as planting tools, have been distributed in Ganjam, Puri and Cuttack districts. The crops are now growing well, and the harvesting of some green leafy vegetables and radishes has started.
There has been an increased acceptance of the participation of women in the decision making and operation of the programme. Seeds and tools have been distributed by women, planting of the seeds was carried out by women and the decision on the winter crop mix was also made entirely by women. Oxfam started a food and cash for work programme in the Ganjam district in December 1999. This includes projects such as the construction of dams and the restoration of housing. Food and cash will be distributed to 1,800 participants of food for work projects, including 50 tons of pulses and 10 tons of oil. Rehabilitation projects have started with local communities prioritising projects which will help to ensure longer-term food security, such as building embankments and dams for flood prevention. People who are physically unable to participate in food for work activities are also being included in the projects, through activities such as site supervision and looking after children and animals whilst other people are working.

Distribution of livelihood materials includes fishing nets, potters' wheels, bamboo and carpenters' kits. Additionally, the distributions will include 500 pairs of goats to 500 female headed households, and 10,000 cashew saplings to 5000 households. Oxfam's water and sanitation work has been scaled up in the worst affected areas of Erasama (Jagatsinghpur), Mahakalpada (Kendrapara) and Astarang (Puri). Problems include water salinity and damage to dug wells. Oxfam's work on health promotion includes providing training in the cleaning and disinfection of wells and general hygiene promotion.
The distribution of blankets and plastic sheets continues at a rate of around 200 blankets and 150 plastic sheets per week.