Cyclone Fani struck the northwestern coast of India, especially in the state of Odisha, and the coast of Bangladesh last Friday (3 May). Said to be one of the strongest cyclones to hit India from the Bay of Bengal in the last 20 years, it caused severe damage to these areas. Villages and towns have been submerged, and winds reaching 200km/h blew off roofs, damaged power lines, and uprooted trees.
In the lead up to the cyclone, the governments of India and Bangladesh undertook a mass evacuation, moving over 1.2 million people from Fani’s projected path onto higher ground and into cyclone shelters. Hundreds of emergency workers and over 43,000 volunteers aided in these efforts.
Many have praised these measures, including the Inspector-general of Odisha police, Arun Bothra. He said “There has been massive, massive damage here … but, fortunately, thanks to the people who forecasted this and told us the minute-to-minute movement of the cyclone … the evacuation part was very successful and the casualties are very, very low”. As of 7 May, 57 people have been killed and many more injured.
Cyclone Fani evacuation and relief efforts
The task at hand is now to return people to their homes, and to repair the enormous damage caused by the cyclone. According to Bishnupada Sethi, the Special Relief Commissioner, “Cyclone Fani damaged power infrastructure worth more than Rs 1,200 crore”.
Among the essential facilities affected are electricity, water supply and mobile connectivity; all of which the government is working to restore as soon as possible. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has announced that the government had released over ₹1000 crore (US$145 million) for the states hit by Cyclone Fani, while the Bangladeshi government distributed rice, dried food, and Tk1.97 crore (US$234,000) to those affected.
However, many towns, villages, and people are running out of supplies they had stocked ahead of the cyclone.
Here is how you can help the relief measures:
- Odisha Chief Minister’s Relief Fund: Donate directly to the government via the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund here.
- Milaap: Your donations will also go to the Odisha CM Relief Fund. Donate here.
- Oxfam India: Donations to NGO Oxfam India will go towards water, emergency food supplies, hygiene kits, rehabilitation and long-term recovery. See here.
- Goonj: They accept both money as well as materials such as food, utensils, clothes, toiletries, and other essentials. There are drop-off points in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hyderabad, Chennai and other cities. Check here for more details.
- Ketto: Donations will help NGO Rapid Response distribute relief kits to the worst affected families. Click here.
- ActionAid: This NGO works on the ground to evacuate and assist in relief efforts. It also allows both NRIs and foreign citizens to make donations. See here.
- Helpage India: This NGO is accepting donations for rations, medical supplies and other relief materials here.
- DonateKart: This agency allows you to buy essential items such as rice, water, wheat, sanitary napkins and more for those affected. See here.
- UNICEF: The international organisation UNICEF is accepting donations to help children’s healthcare, nutrition and safe drinking water here.