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Cyclone Phailin

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Published on Oct 14, 2013

Phailin's Trail of Impact

Seventeen persons were killed as the very severe cyclonic storm, Phailin, hit the Odisha coast near Gopalpur in Ganjam district late on Saturday evening, Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Mohapatra stated this morning.

More than 1.26 crore people were hit by the cyclone that damaged lakhs of thatched and kutcha houses in the coastal districts. Ganjam district was the worst hit. Six persons were killed in Ganjam while three each were killed in Puri and Balasore districts, two in Nayagarh and one each in Jagatsinghpur, Khurda and Bhadrak. The death toll was likely to increase. Most of these deaths occurred following uprooting of trees. Electricity supply was badly affected in most of the affected areas. Power supply was likely to resume in a day or two.

There are some relief camps set up in schools that have been stranded without food supplies for the past 3 days. They are continuously demanding for food and medicines but no govt official is responding to their call and demand . Despite giving several calls to the District Magistrate emergency sections, no food supply has been assured for them.
DAMAGE ESTIMATE
According to preliminary estimates, about 14,500 villages in 1,900 gram panchayats in 99 blocks had been affected. The storm had also its impact on 39 urban local bodies in the region. The cyclone has damaged five lakh hectares of crops.

 There is huge loss to agricultural crops and kutcha houses.
 The mud houses with thatched or asbestos sheeting have been completely damaged.
 There is partial damage to some pucca houses as well. The estimated house loss stands at 200,000 to 350,000.
 There is no information available on livestock loss.
 People have started slowly moving back to the villages from cyclone shelters. The water has entered in many villages leading to water logging conditions with possible water sanitation issues. The normal practice is open defecation but there is hardly any land available for defecation.

COORDINATION
The IAG has been meeting every day. There would be a joint assessment of INGOS organized. Each of the NGOs would take lead in different sectors and in different districts.

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
Odisha, the authorities set up 1,073 relief camps to house people who had been evacuated or had lost their homes. In Andhra Pradesh, 135 such camps were opened. In Odisha alone, an unprecedented 873,000 people were escorted to the safety of inland buildings that could withstand ferocious c yclonic winds. Another 129,000 people were evacuated in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Around 2,300 personnel of NDRF were pressed into action to help the two state governments in the evacuation.

CARITAS INDIA INTERVENTION
Caritas India team is present in Srikakulam, Vishakapatnam, Behrampur and Balasore collecting information with regards to damage and impact of Cyclone Phailin. Most of the villages along the coastline of Odisha,that were in the pathway of Cyclone Phailin have been severely damaged.
Caritas India has deployed 5 personnel at the ground to gather updates and help the local partners in assessing the situation. We are currently positioned in Puri, Berhampur, Srikakulam and Vishakapatnam.

In Andhra Pradesh, while Vishakapatnam has borne less impact with few villages affected, Srikakulam seems to be badly damaged with heavy rain and strong winds still swirling the whole of October 13th. Our ground personnel mentioned that a majority of the impact is on property, assets, telecommunications and the disruption of the natural environs of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

CHALLENGES
 Due to heavy rains, at least four districts—Jajpur, Bhadrak, Ganjam and Nayagarh—are facing threat from floods.
 One of the prime concern is the availability of potable water. Efforts are being taken to get in touch with laboratory testing units, to ensure additional outbreaks of vector-borne diseases can be controlled.
 Also with people now moving back to their villages, gathering damage data is getting difficult.
 With electricity down, movement is quite restricted as dusk settles in.

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