International aid agency Oxfam will provide water, sanitation and shelter to 60,000 people affected by Cyclone Phailin. The storm, one of the country’s biggest natural disasters in years, left India on Sunday, leaving almost nine million people affected.
Winds of up to 200kmh destroyed 300,000 hectares of crops and damaged 200,000 houses, some beyond repair. Phailin will cost India upwards of $400 million.
The aid agency said the most staggering statistic was that just 23 people were reported killed. In the same area in 1999, a cyclone killed more than 10,000 people. This time, authorities moved nearly a million people into temporary shelters in schools and government buildings.
Oxfam India Humanitarian Program Manager Zubin Zaman said many lives were undoubtedly saved because of quick action by the governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
“They used cyclone early warning systems effectively and there was excellent coordination between agencies to get everybody out to safety in time,” he said.
“However, hundreds of thousands of people are now displaced and need safe water and sanitation. Some need emergency shelter. It is important that local administrators continue to supply food over a sustained period of time to meet people’s needs.”
Oxfam India is distributing chlorine tablets that people can use to purify water, and plans to provide hygiene kits and emergency shelter.
Oxfam’s response, with the help of local partners Unites Artists Association and Solar, will focus on the Chattarpur and Ganjam blocks in Ganjam and Puri districts.
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