On May 30th, 2021, AID-India representatives held a meeting with on-ground partners, Baikunthapur Tarun Sangha (BTS), who provided a ground report on their relief work in the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas in the state of West Bengal.
BTS reported that many homes and ponds remain flooded with water, leaving many hundreds of households unable to cook meals at home. BTS responded to the need by operating 12 community kitchens – 5 kitchens in Patharpratima, 2 kitchens in Mathurapur, 5 kitchens in Kultali, and a planned 13th kitchen opening in Sagar on May 31st. Cumulatively, BTS’s community kitchens are serving an estimated 2,200-2,300 people.
The following is the overall breakdown of BTS community kitchens: Deulbari (serves 150), Shyamnagar (serves 200), Purbagurguriya (serves 150), Paschim Debipur (serves 400, 2 units) for a total of 700 people served. In Mathurapur II, Kankan Dighi (serves 400, 2 units), and in Patharpratima, Herambagopalpur (serves 400, 2 units), Gangapur (serves 175), Banashyamnagar (serves 150) and Sridharnagar (serves 180). In Sagar Block, Mirganga I, the new kitchen will be located in Sapkhali Village. The venture name is “Adarsha Sangha,” and it will serve 200 people.
Members of the many households affected by the cyclone are presently attempting to retrieve their damaged properties and rebuild their homes, and many of them remain unable to cook meals at home. These households have an urgent need for dry rations, such as pulses (dal).
From May 31st, BTS will begin distributing bleaching powder and chun (lime) to the households where waterlogging has receded. Their medium-term plan is to begin de-watering ponds by pumping out saline water, and this work shall be carried out across 30 villages and approximately 500 households. Removing saline water will make the ponds ready to receive fresh rain-water in the following weeks and make them capable of rearing fish and agricultural uses. BTS plans to begin operating medical camps from Friday, June 4th.
BTS also plans to work with panchayats to undertake minor embankment repairs to prevent the high tide from flooding the ponds again with salt-water. The BTS plans to launch this project through the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees 100 days of work for rural workers.AID Responds to Yaas Donate for Yaas relief