Kolkata: The extremely severe Cyclonic storm Amphan hit the coastal regions of Odisha and West Bengal with torrential rains and stormy winds causing a huge devastation to both the states.
The severity of the cyclone has led to 80 deaths so far and destroyed thousands of houses, as it battered both the states in eastern India. The cyclone comes as tens of thousands of migrant workers flee cities for their villages during India’s lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. West Bengal and Odisha are among the Indian states that are seeing a larger number of them return.
Cyclone Amphan has led to extensive damage to housing areas, leaving thousands of people to take shelters provided by the government. Hectares of agricultural lands have been inundated, causing severe crop loss. Kolkata City bore most of the brunt of the cyclonic storm.
Heavy rains also ripped many districts in the north and south of 24 Parganas flooding low-lying areas and blowing away roofs. Gosaba, Kardip and the Sunderbans islands are the worst-affected areas in West Bengal.
Added to the COVID 19 relief work, World Vision India now gears up to respond to the cyclone too . The cyclone response will focus on meeting the immediate needs of people and focus on livelihood support through cash voucher assistance and strengthening of agriculture systems to help people recover from this loss.
World Vision (WV) India is also maintaining all protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Around 12 ADPs (Area Development Project) of World Vision India are working with the government and are assessing the situation in the communities.
“The coastal regions of West Bengal and Odisha have been badly affected by the Cyclone Amphan. People have lost their homes and their livelihood. Responding to two disasters at the same time is a new challenge for us when there is lockdown in the country.With only an embankment separating the area from the sea, Sunderbans islands one of the most worst affected areas by the cyclone, is home to some of the most marginalised tribal communities who are not only dealing with the secondary impact of COVID-19 but also climate change crisis, threatening their homes and livelihood,” says Franklin Jones, Head – Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs, WV India.
“Our biggest concern is ensuring vulnerable children and their families have a roof over their head, food to eat and access to basic healthcare. But the response will undoubtedly be complicated by COVID-19 and the need to ensure that we keep people, including our staff, safe at all times,” Jones said.
As a humanitarian relief organisation, in times of calamities and natural disasters like Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and droughts, World Vision India not only provides immediate relief, it is also committed to ensure that the affected communities get back on their feet through long-term rehabilitation initiatives. World Vision India is also a member of Sphere India, whose members include key nodal agencies from the Central Government, UN, INGOs, NGO Networks and National NGOs.