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India: Oxfam immediate reaction to passage of Cyclone Phailin
Phailin weakens, worst over
The cyclone Phailin which has struck two states in Eastern India has weakened in the last few hours (4am GMT) but aid agency Oxfam says that the next few hours remain crucial for tens of thousands of Indians stuck in the middle of one of Indian largest natural disasters. Oxfam says the major challenge is to clear debris and quickly restoring communications.
Oxfam India’s staff will assess the situation as soon as possible. Oxfam India has contingency stock on standby for deployment to address vital water and sanitation needs and emergency shelter needs for over 30,000 people during the initial stage of the crisis.
Zubin Zaman, Humanitarian Program Manager of Oxfam India said:
“Roads are blocked by fallen trees, communication and power lines are down. Damage on building is widespread so is the impact on the crops of the region. There are reports of damages to fishing boats and nets of fishing communities in Puri and Ganjam in the state of Odisha.
“The government authorities are trying to clear the roads. Official reports indicate 3 lives lost in the state of Odisha, but we feel it will take some time to get actual data on damages to lives and properties.
“People have started returning to their villages from the shelter places. One of the immediate requirements for these communities is to restore their houses. Water and sanitation remains a major concern for the people leaving in the low laying areas as most of the drinking water sources have been contaminated because of heavy rains and storm surge.”
Inter-Agency-Group Odisha will be meeting at 12.30pm (local time) on Sunday to discuss the situation. Our team members are going to be the part of the joint assessment teams today. We are currently focussing on Ganjam and Puri districts only (Odisha State).