SEEDS is responding to Cyclone Amphan
in times of Covid-19!
On 20 May 2020, extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Cyclone Amphan’ made landfall near Sagar Island in West Bengal in India. The intense packing winds of up to 190 kmph, rampaged through coastal areas of West Bengal and has caused extensive damage.
Over 5 lakh people were evacuated in the cyclone’s path, districts of with East Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and Kolkata are worst-affected. Thousands of families are suffering through one of the most intense cyclones with coronavirus pandemic at the hindsight and require urgent humanitarian aid.
Cyclone shelters and evacuation centres are with limited access to food, safe drinking water and hygiene items. The frontline aid workers and volunteers need adequate PPE for safer response. With extensive damage to houses rebuilding for the affected families begins from day 1. other issues are around immediate homes repair support, survival with food, safe drinking water, hygiene items, basic home utilities and medicine is the key.
Support SEEDS in Rebuilding the Lives of the Families Adversely Affected by Cyclone Amphan
Ration Kit – Rs. 1000
To help feed a family of five with ration kit consisting of a wheat flour, rice, pulses, oil, spices, salt, soybean, sugar, tea leaf and milk powder.
Safe Drinking Water – Rs. 1000
To support one family with safe drinking water for a month through local water treatment.
Hygiene Kit – Rs. 1500
To ensure dignity for a family and protect it from coronavirus and poor sanitary conditions. It comprises reusable masks, toothbrushes and paste, towels, sanitary pads, nail cutter, bathing and washing soap, buckets and mug.
Home Utility Kit – Rs. 4000
To enable a family to cook and rest. It comprises plates, glasses, bowl, spoons, lighter; and bedding items like floor mat, bed sheet and solar lamp with USB charger.
Reaching out to nearly 780 families across multiple affected villages, families have started moving in! Keeping the
house cool in summer & warm in winter, mud plaster & repair is re-discovering the virtues of natural construction!
Masonry skills are an essential learning need for communities as it enhances
their capacity to anticipate disaster risk! With nearly 30 masons & labours working
post cyclone amphan, their learning journey has had a huge transformation.
Learning & restoring the value of traditional practices with right material
in building each house, the enthusiasm & energy of the community is an
eventual driving force here.
Construction of homes is also becoming a learning platform for the children, as future young minds! They play,
create & evolve from what they learn from their surrounding craftsmanship!
Women who have been supporting shelter construction with applications like weaving,
mud layering & knitting in West Bengal have turned out as skilful craftswomen! Their involvement,
which has enhanced the pace of rebuilding homes, has been inspirational!
SEEDS team in close coordination with masons & mobiliser laying stepping stone for another house owner in South Gopal Nagar,
Glimpse of some new homes in 2021 that are on the verge of completion for the families in Uttar & Dakshin Gopal Nagar,
Durgagobindapur & Mahendra Nagar villages in West Bengal.
Smart Card is a preferred way of SEEDS to ensure transparency & efficacy in construction of houses for vulnerable communities. House
owners also appreciate this system as they rebuild their homes that were damaged in Cyclone Amphan.
Natural hazards come & go in no time, but it takes years to rebuild & yield after devastation. SEEDERS actively monitor progress at Uttar
Gopal Nagar where roofing work is under progress for sustainable shelters for the cyclone affected by families.
There is much beauty & art in everyday work! Bamboo work-our
local material used in the homes in WestBengal is a blend of strength,
flexibility & symmetry all at once!
SEEDS team, house owners & local teams make sure the aesthetic balance between the
truss & cover is maintained while ridge levels of the roof are adjusted.
While building houses in remote areas such as Uttargopal Nagar,
where Cyclone Amphan’s impact destroyed many homes, one can’t rely on modern machines
which need electric supply. One relies on time, labour & manual skills.
When beauty & strength blend into construction of houses, it makes efforts to rely on local craftsmanship &
traditional cultures, completely rewarding. Just like installation of woven Bamboo wall at construction of shelters for Amphan affected families in #WestBengal.
SEEDS finds answers in local wisdom & modern techniques, along with community. Namita,
a house owner is proactively ‘BuildingBackBetter’ her home. Grooving, lashing, tying is gradually
transforming people’s mindsets.
Smart Cards is an integral part of SEEDS action plan in construction of
homes in West Bengal. Where house-owners are involved in construction,
procurement & design,Smart Cards are an ideal way to keep track of materials,
deadlines & structural developments for all stakeholders.
Every house will be built by the owner himself as per their needs.
Planned as clusters of 4 to 5 houses in Uttargopal Nagar, the community
will have neighbourhood warmth & support even as they overcome the
trauma of cyclone that took away their livelihoods & homes.
The homes in West Bengal not only justify architectural spaces but also the surrounding landscape design too. It’s very important to
maintain an outer built environment so that the community can lead a meaningful life.
Transformation of houses, as elements added to the construction process is a magical experience that reveals slowly. Lime wash did just that for transitional homes being built by SEEDS team for those affected by Cyclone Amphan.
Excitement & joy at being able to move into a house that resonates with their lives is unparalleled & ever so important to SEEDS. A community member giving finishing touches with mud & cow-dung mixture that strengthens the facade.
SEEDS team also focusses on constructing ECOSAN toilet along with shelters for those who lost their homes in West Bengal. Emphasizing on local construction materials like bamboo, the structure is in tune with community needs but strengthened by a few modern techniques.
There’s magic in simple things and daily life. And who knows it better than the people who live in tune with nature. The community in West Bengal uses bamboo, a local construction material, creating patterns that are not only strong but appealing and beautiful.
Inspired by vernacular housing typologies of the region, SEEDS team constructed its first house
in Patharpratima block, WestBengal, restoring the culture, memories, and spirit that home-owner
Panchami Purkayi lost after cyclone Amphan.
Involvement of the home-owner in construction process was a success. Capacitating the community
in such circumstances has been an essential part of SEEDS.
Actively involved SEEDERS with locals and ground partner KJKS team continued to work hard amidst the pandemic, facing
bad weather with torrential rains.
Built using natural materials with disaster risk reduction features, the house provides safe & comfortable environment
with minimum carbon footprint!
SEEDS’ first prototype shelter in patharpratima block, Gopalnagar Panchayat in West Bengal was built with a celebrated
opening of ‘Bhumi Pujan’ (Land Inauguration) by the family members.
SEEDS along with Grace Cancer foundation initiated a health campaign; an idea of a mobile health bus that travelled across Amphan hit districts- East Medinipur, North and South 24 parganas providing medical services to affected people in times of COVID-19.
Medical health bus was functional with support of team of doctors and health care professionals ensuring safety measures at every base.
Asha workers, health care specialists were a great support in attending the incoming patients.
The special equipment in the bus helped us ‘Reach the Unreachable’ with better facilities for a better treatment!
Reaching out to Amphan affected families and communities in remotest areas with health facilities was possible with the support of IBM.
SEEDS team took the initiative of distribution of ration kits to the affected communities with the support from ground partner KJKS.
The pregnant and lactating women needed an urgent attention in view of the basic diet. SEEDS distributed nutritional food kits to mitigate nutritional deficiency and any other possible health risk for such women.
SEEDS facilitated to 15 villages, around 7000 families with safe drinking water in Sarada gram panchayat, East Medinipur.
SEEDER Jesus Gopal shared his ground experience with Mobile Health Bus supported by SEEDS and Grace Cancer Foundation; reaching out bravely to Cyclone Amphan affected people under the threat of COVID-19 in West Bengal.
The struggle for communities in Sundarbans continued to get more difficult with each passing day. Post Amphan, SEEDER Kamal Kumar Tripathi updated the situation live from ground on how the monsoons had brought the fear of seasonal diseases in times of #COVID19. The affected families need urgent help to rebuild their homes.
As a part of SEEDS and Grace Cancer Foundation, Dr. Abhishek, being one of the key doctors from the mobile health bus shares his experience on supporting the Amphan affected communities across East Mednipur, North and South 24 Paraganas, who also face a larger battle against COVID-19. A short visual compilation!
Nayan Gudia’s family is one of the worst affected in Gopal Chowk, Deshapran Block. The mud and brick house could not withstand the intense wind pressure and collapsed. Nearly 6 month’s ration, poultry and fish was lost. Banana trees, vegetables and mango trees planted in the yard were affected! Restoring the dignity of such families is the key priority.
Partially to fully damaged homes, a major need to re-building shelters is a major requirement
Dilapidated condition of Barabantalia high school in Deshapran reminds us to get the schools running again for students to resume their education.
Damage assessment of homes, schools, PHC’s, health centres in South 24 Parganas was led by SEEDS team for ‘BuildBackBetter initiative.
Communities evacuated and shifted to schools and cyclone shelters in Bokkhali MPCS, South 24 Parganas.
Safety measures were assured due to COVID-19 and a hygienic environment
was maintained for the safety of communities.
Hygienic and healthy food services were also ensured during the emergency in East Mednipur.
Cyclone Amphan makes its landfall- Digha, Sankarpur, Tajpur, Mandarmoni regions of
East Mednipur District.
Power supplies were affected due to heavy rains and strong wind speeds. Families inside the relief camp in Sarada village, East Mednipur District managed with candles and lanterns.
Damage scenario from Hinchi village of Deshapran block of East Mednipur district was reported.
Damage to property was also witnessed in Kolkata.
Damage in South 24 Paraganas district- Magrahat and Gosaba block.
Intensive damage to homes were witnessed in Khejuri I block.
Biodiversity and plantation were massively impacted!
Damaged homes and property in North 24 Paraganas
Emerging Needs- Voices
Thank you to all the partners and volunteers without whom the ongoing work wouldn’t have been possible