New Delhi: Church organizations in India are preparing for massive relief work after Cyclone Phailin left nearly nine million people affected along the east coast of India.
Catholic Relief Service and Caritas India are working with local catholic dioceses to reach relief and aid to people who have lost homes and properties.
Phailin hit the Orissa coast on Saturday with winds of up to 120 miles per hour; it devastated the coastal areas of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states.
Only about two dozen people were killed, mostly by falling trees, because nearly one million people were evacuated by the government ahead of the cyclone. But the torrential rains the cyclone brought have caused floods, displacing millions.
John Shumlansky, CRS country representative in India said: “On the ground, there is total devastation. But, I am glad that the government did an excellent job with the massive evacuation that saved many lives.”
However the floods have been devastating. An Orissa state official said more than 14,500 villages in 12 districts were affected, with 234,000 houses damaged in Orissa state. More than 1,200 acres of crops were destroyed by gushing waters.
“The people need to be helped to rebuild their house and lives. Many of them have lost their livelihood,” Shumlansky said.
CRS’s immediate target, he added, is to reach out to 10,000 families with aid, including cash grants to help them buy essential items.
Antony Chetri, relief work coordinator for Caritas India, his network would provide shelter material like tarps for most needy families.
“Since the government is already providing food to the displaced people (in more than 1,000 relief camps), we do not want to duplicate it. We will try to identify those in remote areas and help them,” said Chetri.
source: ucan india