Food assistance may take a while to arrive as survivors of Cyclone Fani (pronounced “foe-nee”) in India and Bangladesh recover from the storm that caused death and destruction in early May.
Since Cyclone Fani made landfall in the state of Odisha in India on May 3, 2019, many people have been grappling with water shortages and power cuts. The cyclone has been blamed for the deaths of 42 people in India.
“Storm casualties could have been worse, but thanks to evacuations of more than 1 million, many people were saved. Now that the storm is over, people are returning to their villages and houses,” said Weston Davis, country director for ADRA in India. “But many of the thatched houses and semi-permanent houses were blown away during the storm, leaving some people still in need of temporary shelter.”
Davis also said that many households could not store any food due to power outages, and have become dependent on getting food from community kitchens organized by the government.
“Fishermen have lost their boats and will take at least a month to repair some boats, while many are beyond repair,” Davis said. “As for farmers, they’ve lost a lot of crops, and as agricultural labor was their income generating source, there may not be any jobs for them for a while.”
ADRA in India is working with other humanitarian agencies to coordinate ongoing needs assessments. So far, more than 120,000 shelter kits are en route to the coastal town of Puri in India, where communities were hardest hit by Fani.
By the time Fani left India for Bangladesh, the storm was downgraded to a depression. Authorities reported 17 deaths from the cyclone. Residents were being advised to remain alert for storm surges, as severe flooding was expected from heavy rainfalls.
ADRA in Bangladesh has been working to provide aid to the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar since 2017, and though the storm passed through the Rohingya camps, the people are reportedly in good condition. In order to identify the most immediate needs, ADRA in Bangladesh is working closely with local authorities and partners to bring supplies to people affected by the cyclone: food, makeshift shelters, safe water, medicine, and clothes.
Volunteers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church have been working with ADRA in Bangladesh to help assess the situation and find out the most urgent needs of affected families. ADRA plans to start distribution in the districts of Bhola and Patuakhali.
In a news release, Syed Abu Saleh, ADRA Bangladesh communications and public relations officer, shared his appreciation for the work of church volunteers and appealed for funding assistance to help communities most affected by Cyclone Fani.
“You are a valuable member of our emergency response team,” he said. “In emergencies like this, your gift is vital in helping those severely affected by providing them life-saving equipment like hygiene kits, temporary shelters, and other urgent resources.”
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief.