Role of NYSASDRI During Cyclone "fANI" devastation IN ODISHA
Introduction
Fani, a cyclone that hit the coastal state of Odisha on the 2nd and 3rd of May, 2019 was one of the hardest hitting cyclone the state has ever witnessed. For a state that witnesses frequent cyclones, Fani’s intensity was still quite a surprise as it was a rare summer cyclone. Therefore, while the evacuation plan executed by the State Government resulted in few casualties, the devastation and destruction caused was unprecedented and caused immense loss to the state
Fani hit various districts of Odisha, especially the district of Puri, which witnessed mass destruction and loss of resources due to the strong winds and rain. People had to evacuate their homes for days and come back only to what was just a broken hut or thatch. There was no water, access to roads, and electricity or electronic communication for several days.
NYSASDRI took up the initiative of surveying and analysing the situation in mainly two Gram Panchayats in Satyabadi Block, which was severely damaged due to Cyclone Fani, in Puri- Dugal and Sarangajodi. The results of the surveys led to two phases of relief distribution in these Gram Panchayats. NYSASDRI, along with its various collaborative partners distributed various essential goods that helped people affected by Fani start the process of relief, renovation, and rehabilitation.
 
Phase I Distribution
The phase 1 distribution was carried out in two Gram Panchayats of Satyabadi block. On the 17th of May, the distribution was carried out in Dugal Gram Panchayat, and on 25th of May, the distribution was carried out in Sarangajodi Gram Panchayat.
Total Relief Materials worth Rs. 12.5 Lakhs was arranged for distribution, which was initiated in Dugal Gram Panchayat and accordingly distributed on May 17th, 2019. 600 families were selected based on their needs and accordingly tokens were distributed among the families.
The distribution was carried out from 9am onwards. The various materials distributed were food items such as Chuda, Guda (Jaggery), biscuits, etc., and essential household goods such as 18’x15’ size tarpaulin, candles, mattresses, water bottles etc.
On the 25th of May, 2019, NYSASDRI along with volunteers from Rotary International, Bhubaneswar, initiated the relief distribution drive in Sarangajodi Gram Panchayat. 450 beneficiary families were selected on need basis to receive various kinds of aid materials. Food materials such as Chuda, guda (jaggery), biscuits etc., and essential household goods such as tarpaulin, mosquito nets, towels, candles, matches, water bottles, etc., were distributed.
 
Date of distribution of relief Coverage of household Relief Materials
17/05/2019 600 beneficiaries of Dugal GP Chuda-4kg, guda-1kg, candle-1pkt, matches-1pkt, water-2ltr,Biscuits -1 pkt for 600 household, tarpauline 286 for need poor people and Utensils for 50 poor families
25/05/2019 450 beneficiaries of Sarangajodi GP Chuda-4kg, guda-1kg, candle-1pkt, matches-1pkt, water-2ltr,Biscuits -1 pkt for 400 household, tarpaulin 214 for need poor people, Mosquito nets 300, Gamuchha-150pieces
 
Phase II Distribution
The phase 2 distribution, after continuous surveys, was carried out in two Gram Panchayats of the Satyabadi block. On the 21st of June, the distribution was carried out in Dugal Gram Panchayat, and on 22nd of June, the distribution was carried out in Sarangajodi Gram Panchayat.
Various relief materials were arranged for distribution, which was initiated in Dugal Gram Panchayat and accordingly distributed on 21st June, 2019 by NYSASDRI in collaboration with Welthungerhilfe. The beneficiaries were selected based on their needs through month long household surveys and accordingly tokens were distributed among the families. The various materials distributed were essential household goods such as tarpaulin, mosquito nets, etc.
On the 22nd of June, 2019, NYSASDRI along with their partner Welthungerhilfe, Bhubaneswar, initiated the relief distribution drive in Sarangajodi Gram Panchayat. The beneficiary families were selected on need basis to receive various kinds of aid materials. Essential household goods such as tarpaulin, mosquito nets, etc., were distributed.
 
Date of distribution of relief Coverage of household Relief Materials
21.06.2019 1000 beneficiaries of Dugal Gp 500 Nos. Solar Lamp (MRP 2000.00 each) 500 Nos. Mosquito net for 500 household, 250 Nos. tarpaulin for needy & poor people 1000 sleeping mat for 1000 household.
22.06.2019 1000 beneficiaries of Sarangajodi Gp 500 Nos. Solar Lamp (MRP 2000.00 each) 500 Nos. Mosquito net for 500 household, 250 Nos. tarpaulin for needy & poor people 1000 sleeping mat for 1000 household.
 
Challenges
An initiative as large as that taken up by NYSASDRI and its partners for the rehabilitation of Fani Victims, there would obviously be various speed bumps and challenges in the way. However, that didn’t stop NYSASDRI from carrying forward the initiative.
During the assessment stage that preceded that phases of operation, there were surveys conducted by local and non-local personnel in Dugal and Sarangajodi Gram Panchayats to understand the need and requirements of the affected families. The surveys were not always easy to conduct as it is extremely tough to do a door-to-door survey, especially about a topic as sensitive as a natural calamity destruction. People were apprehensive, suspicious, and often unsure about the information they should give out. Some thought that we worked for the government and hence hoped we will offer them more aid on behalf of the government.
The process to select the beneficiaries was another task NYSASDRI found challenging. Because, many families were severely affected by the cyclone and hence, wanted access to the relief materials from us, it was hard to differentiate the ones that were in dire need of help from the ones that weren’t. Moreover, since the surveys were mostly conducted by local working under NYSASDRI, it was hard to sometimes analyse objectively and select the deserving beneficiaries.
During the distribution was being conducted, there were a lot of challenges faced by the volunteers from NYSASDRI. When the materials were distributed amongst around 480 families, the situation turned and there was a mob. Many people gathered from other villages and nearby GPs and demanded relief for them also. Situation was uncontrolled. We took shelter of Police force but they also surrendered themselves after seeing the situation. We have allowed the gatherings to distribute rest of the relief materials among themselves through their local leaders. However, it was not possible. Some of the people started quarrelling and fighting with the volunteers and demanded more materials.
 
Collaborative Approaches
Keeping in mind the terrible condition of the districts post Fani, NYSASDRI requested and contacted various like-minded local and international agencies and organisations to support them in either the form of financial donations and/or assistance in distribution. Various organisations such as DIK Germany, Hand in Hand Germany, Meikirch Model Switzerland, Hindu Society Canada, Rotary International Bhubaneswar, and Local district administrations offered help in cash, kind, and assistance.
 
Impact
NYSASDRI’s relief work helped a lot of families with various goods that was essential for them to rebuild their lives after the devastation caused by Fani. The distribution was mostly hassle free except a few mishaps due to people from other villages turning up to demand aid as well, and some inter-caste discrepancies.
The beneficiaries were able to receive necessary aid from NYSASDRI and its partners which helped reconstruct their homes and their lives after the devastation caused by Fani. The Tarpaulin helped rebuild their roof and protect it from strong winds and rains, which are often the after-effect of a cyclone. The candles and solar lights helped at times when electricity was cut or compromised in the villages, helping various children continue studying even when there is no electricity. The food helped when they were stranded as the roads are still blocked and it has extremely hard to travel to nearby shops and markets to get food.
The impact of this drive was to also spread awareness about helping those in need and collaborating with partners to fulfil the same. Natural calamities are an unfortunate and unavoidable reality of life. So people who are affected and underprivileged must be helped by those who have access to resources.
 
Conclusion
The incoming phase 3 of relief work has already been initiated. One of the initiatives to be launched will be Cash for Work, wherein people can earn by helping clean the water bodies and blocked roads that were the consequence of the cyclone. The programme is already under process with surveys and execution panning underway. Moreover, distribution of seeds and plants programme’s survey is also in process.
The families receiving the relief materials were extremely grateful as the items given to them helped a lot in rebuilding their houses and in nourishment during times when it was extremely difficult to buy food items due to lack of access and resources.
The two phases of the relief distribution successfully implemented the plan of action that was envisioned by NYSASDRI, to help those in need after the Cyclone. The upcoming initiatives will also help in improving the life of the families affected.
 

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