Crisis Escalates for Cyclone Victims in India

October 30, 2013

Several Christian Aid-assisted ministries in eastern India report staggering needs as they seek to help victims of Cyclone Phailin. The situation has become critical for hundreds of thousands who remain homeless and destitute.

Two weeks after the superstorm washed away homes and destroyed crops, misery continues for residents of coastal areas in the most severely affected states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Conditions worsened over the weekend when another storm dropped three days of heavy rain on districts still reeling from the devastation of Phailin.

The Category 4 cyclone affected an estimated 20 million people in India. Loss of life was minimal, however, as the government ordered the evacuation of nearly one million residents in anticipation of the storm.

As floodwaters receded, families left inland shelters and returned to find their homes and entire villages wrecked with little to salvage. Recovery efforts and restoration of electricity have been slowed by miles of washed out roads.

Recent torrential rain added insult to injury when structures partially damaged by the cyclone became inundated a second time. Impoverished Christian families living in the Nalgonda district lost their thatch huts and have nowhere to go.

In Odisha, some 12 million people were impacted and 17 out of 30 districts sustained serious damage in the aftermath of Phailin. One of our ministry partners has targeted 30 of the hardest hit villages near Gopalpur for emergency relief. Much-needed items include food, medicine, clothing, blankets, plastic sheeting to make temporary shelters, kerosene oil, and matches.

Food packages are being assembled that include 5 kilograms of rice, 1 kilogram of lentils, 1 kilogram of cooking oil, curry powder, and salt packets.

Because of poor sanitation and polluted drinking water, the Odisha ministry leader expressed concern over potential outbreaks of disease. Water purification tablets are also among their most pressing needs.

Local believers who lost everything in the cyclone and latest flood event need our prayers and financial assistance to rebuild their lives. The cost to provide food, water, and other essentials for one family for a week ranges in price from $50 to $100. Christian Aid has already sent $10,000 to assist ministries in India in their disaster relief efforts, but much more is needed during this critical recovery phase.