India

Orissa cyclone emergency update 17 Nov 99

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The Orissa cyclone has affected over 10 million people in 10 districts, with the worst affected coastal communities remaining inaccessible.
The greatest need at the moment is for food, shelter, water, and household items such as stoves, fuel, cooking utensils and dry clothes. Oxfam is already distributing food packages and plans to ditribute survival kits to 50,000 families. The survival kits contain cooking utensils, buckets, water containers, plastic sheets, soap, sanitary towels, clothing, candles and plastic bags.

Some examples of the costs involved in providing these items are:

  • =A316 buys one month's ration of dry food (flattened rice and jaggery, a sugar cane extract) for one family.
  • =A35 buys bleaching powder (used for hygiene and washing) for one family.
  • =A31 buys clothing for one person.
Over the next six months, Oxfam will work to improve public health through the provision of clean water supplies and sanitation facilities and also through health and hygiene promotion.

In the longer term, Oxfam is concerned with helping people rebuild their livelihoods. Fishing communities have lost men as well as boats and nets, raising the question of how female-headed households will now earn a living. Many paddy farmers have lost their harvests and may be unable to plant for the winter season, causing loss of income and unemployment for agricultural labourers. Much livestock has also been lost.

A four day assessment of the situation by Oxfam's team in Orissa has just been concluded, and plans for the next stage of targetted relief are being put together.