SEEDS: Drinking Water Topmost Need in Wake of Cyclone Fani

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‘Cyclone Fani’, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, made landfall near Puri, India, around 8 a.m. (IST) on May 3, 2019, lashing the coast with winds gusting at more than 200 km per hour. Over 10,000 villages and 50 towns bore its brunt, with over 1.4 million people still in relief centres across Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. 

As a part of its immediate relief assistance, SEEDS is responding to Cyclone Fani with the following support:
Safe drinking water – Taps are dry, and most local water sources are contaminated.
Hygiene kits and sanitation – Inundation and garbage pose the threat of spread of diseases. Toilets are not functioning.
Multi-speciality temporary health camps – Those needing medical attention are in larger number than normal, and services are restricted.

Immediate Relief Assistance

Odisha was hardest hit, and SEEDS is reaching out with immediate water, health and hygiene support to the worst affected – largely slum dwellers and rural marginal families. Drinking water is evident as the most urgent need. Taps are dry, local water bodies are broken or contaminated with saline water or garbage, and toilets are waterlogged and not functional. With electricity supply expected to stay affected for at least a week more, pumping stations are out of order, and water supply will remain an area of concern.  Contaminated drinking water is usually the cause of water-borne disease outbreaks in such situations, and thus an urgent focus is being placed on clean drinking water supply, enabling hygienic conditions, and providing medical support via health camps to nip any diseases in the bud.

Early Recovery Assistance
Transitional Shelter
Shelter advisories and repair
Public infrastructure and environment

Keeping an eye on the next level of needs, we will be working with affected families to start reconstruction as soon as possible.  With estimates of tens of thousands of houses damaged, there is a strong urgency in getting roofs over people’s heads in the sweltering heat of the coming days, and the monsoon rains and main cyclone season that lies ahead.  While plastic sheets and tarpaulin are being distributed in these areas, families cannot survive in these for long, and permanent housing reconstruction will take years. For partially damaged houses, families will be advised to repair them safely, to withstand future disasters.

Damaged schools will need to be rebuilt or repaired soon enough for children to restart their education at the end of the summer. Other public infrastructure like health centres and community buildings will also require attention.  While government support will be adequate to do this, SEEDS strives to work with affected communities to fill the time gap till these facilities are accounted for, funded and rebuilt.  We call this approach ‘transitional’, wherein transitional houses and schools help affected families survive the coming months better and are the starting point for recovery.

Rebuilding using fallen trees: Linking reconstruction with environment – A very large number of trees have fallen across the affected areas. Timber from fallen trees and rubble from damaged houses can be creatively used for reconstruction. This is a unique approach SEEDS is taking to ensure speedy reconstruction with minimum environmental impact.  At the same time, plantation drives will be taken up to restore the green cover with local species.

Support our efforts to reach those most in need!

Donations for this cause can be made at:  https://www.seedsindia.org/cyclonefani/

In addition, we also urge individuals and organisations with technical skills in the water, sanitation, health and shelter construction domains to volunteer with us and lend a helping hand to our countrymen in need. https://www.seedsindia.org/volunteer/