Cyclone Phailin, which struck the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in Eastern India on Saturday, has now lost momentum and is expected to dissipate. However, the coming days remain crucial for tens of thousands of people stuck in the middle of one of the largest natural disasters to hit the region in years.
Our colleagues at Oxfam India says that the major challenge is to clear debris and restore communications quickly.
Zubin Zaman, Humanitarian Programme Manager, Oxfam India says, “Roads are blocked by fallen trees, communication and power lines are down. Damage on building is widespread so is the impact on the crops of the region. There are reports of damages to fishing boats and nets in Puri and Ganjam districts in Odisha.”
Government authorities are trying to clear the roads and there are reports of at least seven lives lost in the state of Odisha. With so many people affected however, it may be some time before we know the full extent of the damage to lives and property.
People have started to return to their villages and one of the immediate requirements for these communities is to restore their houses. Water and sanitation is also a major concern for people living in the low lying areas as drinking water sources have been contaminated due to heavy rains and storm surge.
Oxfam India staff are assessing the situation and contingency supplies are on standby for deployment to address vital water and sanitation needs and emergency shelter needs for over 30,000 people during the initial stage of the crisis.
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