Church agencies brace for rehabilitation after Cyclone Phailin
Only about two dozen people were killed, mostly by falling trees, as nearly 1 million people were evacuated by the government ahead of the cyclone.
Church charities in India are preparing for a massive relief work among nearly 9 million people affected by Cyclone Phailin along the eastern coast of the country.
Cyclone Phailin devastated the coastal areas of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on October 12 with winds of up to 120 miles per hour. Only about two dozen people were killed, mostly by falling trees, as nearly 1 million people were evacuated by the government ahead of the cyclone.
"I am glad that the government did an excellent job with the massive evacuation that saved many lives. But, on the ground, there is total devastation," said John Shumlansky, country representative in India for the U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Service.
Shumlansky told Catholic News Service on Tuesday from Odisha state that the challenges ahead were too many, with houses blown away, buildings damaged and farms under water.
"The people need to be helped to rebuild their homes and lives, and emergency relief including shelter material was distributed to 180 families. The immediate target is to reach out to 10,000 families with aid, including cash grants to help them buy essential items,” Shumlansky said.
Antony Chetri, relief work coordinator for Caritas India, told CNS that the Caritas network would provide shelter material like tarps for most needy families. Babita Allick, team leader of the disaster management wing of Caritas India, told CNS that it has released $16,500 for emergency relief and assessment work for the dioceses of Berhampur and Balasore.
An Odisha state official said more than 14,500 villages in 12 districts were affected, with 234,000 houses damaged. More than 1,200 acres of crops were destroyed by gushing waters.
Source: Vatican Radio