On May 3rd 2019, Cyclone Fani made landfall south of Puri district, Odisha. With wind speeds touching 200 kmph, it wreaked havoc on coastal communities of Odisha. Families have returned from cyclone shelters to find their homes destroyed (and in many cases possessions as well). Over 5 lakh houses were damaged and 1.5 crore people affected across Odisha; and over 33,000 houses damaged and 6.3 lakh people affected in West Bengal.
How we helped
Addressing immediate needs
600 family kits were distributed with basic hygiene needs including mosquito nets and soap. SEEDS and local partner SPANDAN also supported a community kitchen that was managed by cyclone survivors themselves in the Baliapanda slum of Puri. 500 people from 123 families were able to have access to a good meal when most needed.
Improving access to safe water and hygiene awareness
In two villages of East Medinipur, West Bengal, we worked with local partner KJKS to impart training on safe water and chlorinate common drinking water sources. We were able to reach 190 families (910 people). We also reached out to seven areas in Puri, Odisha with community filters.
We reached over 100 people across Puri, Odisha with access to immediate basic healthcare. This focused on skin, stomach & water-borne ailments trauma & mental health.
Transitional homes in Birapadia village
A month on, media attention waned but Cyclone Fani’s survivors continue the long road to recovery. SEEDS worked with families in Birapadia Village in Sadar block of Puri to build transitional homes. Located about 15 km from Puri town, this is a marginalised community, mainly with daily wage labourers and landless families. They survived the cyclone under an uprooted tree.
The 30 homes, designed and built with the help of the community were symbols of hope in a setting where there is still devastation all around. Truly local, the design incorporated salvaged timber from uprooted trees, thick bamboo mat walling that can be made locally, and coconut leaf thatch to cover the roof for thermal comfort. The tying techniques using GI wires, roof anchoring systems and veranda-roof separation all enhanced cyclone resistance.
Leaving a mark
Months after the response died down, women in the Pentakota slum (one of our response areas) continued taking matters into their own hands. They banded together to create a resilience fund, pooling in Rs. 1,24,600!