Most powerful cyclone in 14 years batters India's east coast
Millions in need of food, housing after devastation
The most powerful storm in 14 years to hit India's eastern coast has destroyed countless homes and people's livelihoods in the area. Millions of people in eastern India now need relief and rehabilitation, international aid agencies say.
Even worse with the cyclone is that fact that the people effected are largely from poor fishing and farming communities and have nothing to fall back on.
The death toll was successfully minimized due to mass evacuations ahead of time, a new problem exists. Survivors need adequate support in the aftermath, aid workers say.
"While reports of casualties are low, we shouldn't underestimate the scale of this disaster. There are millions of people who will need support to rebuild their homes and livelihoods," John Shumlansky, India country representative for Catholic Relief Services says.
Indian officials had estimated up to 12 million people living in the Phailin's path would be affected before the storm. Now. close to a million people were moved to cyclone shelters as the storm hurtled towards the coast. Some forecasters compared it to the super cyclone that struck Odisha in 1999, killing 10,000 people.
In spite of the drastically reduced death toll, the storm appears to have left a similar trail of destruction.
Gale-force winds ripped apart hundreds of thousands of mud-and-thatch houses, and storm surges and heavy rains submerged large swathes of farmland. Power lines and telecommunications towers have been damaged, and thousands of trees have been uprooted.
More than 230,000 mud-and-thatch homes were destroyed by the storm in just one district alone. Crippled communications and roads blocked by fallen trees have made assessments difficult.
Those uprooted from the storm will not be able to return home immediately. They may have to remain in overcrowded shelters where poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water could bring disease.
The area's true ordeal will now begin as survivors huddle together in close conditions. Outbreaks of water-borne illnesses such as diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid are common after disasters, when clean drinking water sources can be contaminated.
Water purification units, hygiene kits, stoves and blankets are needed, as well as tarpaulin sheets and tents are desperately needed to give to the temporary shelters.
Even worse is that fact that the people effected are largely from poor fishing and farming communities and have nothing to fall back on. Many have lost their homes, coconut trees and cashew nut crops, livestock and fishing boats and nets. It will take them many years to recover, aid workers say.
A birth foretold: click here to learn more!
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Asia Pacific News
- Disintegrated - in mid-air? Missing Malaysian plane mystery deepens
- Top Malaysia court delays ruling on use of 'Allah'
- Filipino Cardinal blasts Catholics for hypocrisy
- Chinese train massacre carried out by Islamist gang on 'Holy War' spree
- Pakistan feeling wages of sin; Drug addiction, AIDS rife is South Asian nation
- Indian economy slows in most recent quarter
- While Cambodia's poverty rate drops, many still struggle to survive
- Slavery scandal involving teenage girls shocks Indian Tea Company
- Australian airlines Qantas to cut 5,000 jobs
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?