Cyclone Phailin-affected victims await relief in Ganjam District

Ganjam District (Odisha), Nov.12 : Cyclone Phailin-affected villagers of Balrampur village in Odisha's Ganjam District are still waiting in anticipation for compensation and relief measures, as they remain stranded without any means of livelihood.

One month has passed since the cyclone had struck the state and around 270 families of this village, who were dependent on cattle and farming for livelihood, are still waiting for relief measures.

"Our paddy crops got destroyed and the vegetables cultivation got spoiled due to the cyclone. Our cattle were swept by the flood water. We left the village to save our lives but unfortunately could not save those cattle that were our livelihood. Now we are left with nothing," said a 65-year-old woman of Balrampur village, Chandra Gauda.

Though the relief and evacuation that was carried out by the provincial government saved millions, it has left many without any means of livelihood.

Block Development Officer Subhransu Mishra said: "Actually when the disaster took place, we were concentrating on the food relief part. We were trying to give them food but soon we changed our strategy and will provide them with employment. Because of the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme, we have thought of starting this project in all the villages affected by this disaster."

Cyclone Phailin, which made landfall in the Bay of Bengal on Saturday (October 12), bringing winds of more than 200 km per hour, three metre-high tidal waves and heavy rain to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states, caused huge destruction to property.

Although the water had started receding, around 50,000 affected villagers had nowhere to go as their houses were almost washed away by the floods.

Prior to the cyclone striking the coast, around one million people were moved to cyclone shelters, considered to be one of the biggest evacuation operation undertaken in the world.

The authorities had mooted these preventive measures since the weather forecast had compared the cyclone to the super cyclone that struck Odisha in 1999, killing 10,000 people.

Post cyclone-Phailin, the floods have submerged many villages in knee-deep waters.

Some of the affected people are still waiting for relief to reach them even after days since the calamity.

As per the aid workers, the long-term needs of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods also need to be addressed quickly as affected populations - who are largely from poor fishing and farming communities - have nothing to fall back on.

--ANI (Posted on 12-11-2013)

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