Odisha, India: On 3rd May, Cyclone Fani made landfall on the coast of Odisha with wind speeds of over 200 kmph. The severe cyclonic storm caused damage to roads and communication networks, houses and public infrastructure in Odisha and neighbouring states. 16.5 million people were affected by the cyclonic storm in 18,388 villages. Over half a million families were left homeless while most communities don’t have reliable access to shelter, clean water and electricity.
Following the cyclone Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sent an emergency response team to Odisha to assess and respond to humanitarian needs in the affected areas. The government agencies have already begun to implement comprehensive relief and rehabilitation activities in the state. After a discussion with the state authorities, MSF has begun providing support in addition to the government’s emergency response in the city of Puri and the district of Cuttack. In Puri, MSF will distribute 83 tons of shelter and hygiene material to 5,000 households in the worst affected slums. In the district of Cuttack; a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme has been set up to restore clean drinking water for people in the slums, villages and primary health care centres. Hygiene kits will also be distributed to 2,500 households.
“After a disaster of this magnitude, it’s important to assess the essential needs of the most vulnerable communities. At this moment there is an urgent need to provide reliable shelter and clean water. As a medical humanitarian organisation, we provide access to clean drinking water to prevent water-borne infections and shelter and hygiene materials to those who have lost everything. The communities overall health and dignity are also important aspects of humanitarian response” says Gert Verdonck, Emergency Coordinator, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).