Fani, a severe cyclone, made landfall at Puri coast in Odisha on Friday, 3rd May 2019. Categorized as 5 cyclone, the winds at a speed of 185-240 Km/hr hit the coastal areas of Odisha and some parts of Andhra Pradesh. Over 1.2 million people in the state have been evacuated from the coastal belt and relocated to safer places. The migrant laborers who moved from various parts of Odisha to Greater Bhubaneshwar are the most affected, especially women and children.
According to the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC), cyclone Fani death toll touches 64 with the highest number of 39 deaths in Puri followed by Khurda (9), Cuttack (6), Mayurbhanj (4) and 3 each in Kendrapara and Jajpur districts.
As an immediate relief effort, Aide et Action has moved more than 2000 migrants, including 600+ children from 15 Brick Kiln sites to safer places like Government Schools and other safe public spaces.
Aide et Action also released an immediate aid of INR 5 million (Rs. 50 Lakhs) to support its humanitarian response for children and families devastated by the cyclone in the state. This has been made possible because of the generous donation of Aide et Action supporters in France. “Akin to the massive response to the Nepal earthquake in 2015, our French donors spontaneously contacted us to know about cyclone fani affected communities. Aide et Action, using its emergency fund, immediately took a decision to support the affected communities in Odisha, one of the poorest regions in the country” says Charles-Emmanuel Ballanger, International Director – Aide et Action.
In the first phase of the project, Aide et Action is focusing on child-friendly initiatives promoting a safe
and healthy environment for children in schools in 70 villages of Nimapara block in Puri district of Odisha. The project is ensuring psycho-social support to children, providing learning kits, undertaking the immediate repair of damaged schools, and advocating with the government to provide mid-day meals to all the children during the summer vacation apart from making sure the availability of various other social security benefits to the affected families.
In the last 10 days, more than 850 affected children in Nimapara block received learning kits comprising notebooks, school bag, stationery and a solar lamp, which has made it possible for most to resume their education immediately. Training on management of child-friendly spaces for children affected by cyclone was organized in Nimapara block in collaboration with RWI, our local partner. Twenty-six young facilitators took part in the two training held on 27th and 28th May 2019. The training also focused on well-being of adolescents, tools for identification of affected children & basic psychosocial counseling with age-appropriate creative activities.
“Children are incredibly vulnerable when it comes to disasters. They undergo high stress that affects their psycho-social well-being. Our first task would be to ensure access to education and counseling support to the affected children at the earliest,” said Umi Daniel, Director – Migration & Education, coordinating Aide et Action response from Bhubaneswar with an experienced team supporting him. “We have already initiated action on the ground by reaching out to the children and providing them with learning kits to enable them to resume their education. This has been accomplished with the support and collaboration of the school managements and gram panchayats,” he added.
The aid will also help to initiate community managed disaster response in the affected area with a special focus on the need and safety of children.
Apart from implementing this project directly, Aide et Action is partnering with local NGOs having experience and expertise on humanitarian response and have a physical presence in the operational areas to implement the project. Aide et Action plans to expand the intervention to Gop and Puri Sadar blocks of Puri district covering 50-gram panchayats and reaching out to 15,000 children in the next phase to be initiated soon.