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Journey to ‘Aila Ghar’

“We had cooked our food but did not get time to eat it. We left the food and rushed to the Aila Ghar (Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter) around twelve in the morning. My daughter packed few clothes and took 3 goats along with her. I took hold of my granddaughter and moved immediately. The trees were swaying in the wild windstorm due to incoming Cyclone Amphan!  It took us one hour to reach the cyclone shelter that usually takes a 10-minute walk otherwise. While on our way, my twelve year old granddaughter was hit by a tree”, recalls sixty-year-old Nihari from Tiakolla village, GP Dariyapur in Deshapran Block of East Medinipur.

Next day Nihari returned and all she could see was flattened earth. Her belongings, utensils and rice… all raged by Cyclone Amphan. Nihari is a widow and has been living with her daughter and grandchild. Her family (8 members) lives nearby but there is not enough space to accommodate 3 more members. Nihari and her daughter engage in fishing prawn. As of now, they are barely surviving. Her son-in-law works in Kerala and has not been return due to COVID19.

Nihari is staying with her family in a damaged mud hut that she feels is more secure. The family living in the damaged hut have shifted to a safe place. Nihari was able to secure fishing net, her only source of livelihood. The goats are kept in the Cyclone shelter. The family is not keeping well and somehow managing to get two meals a day. Nihari has not yet given up hope. She wants to build a bamboo house to secure her daughter and grandchild.