by Kajla Jankalyan Samiti
AID Responds to Amphan Donate to Amphan Relief Fund
Livelihood profile in East Midnapore:
- Agriculture is the principal livelihood with almost 53% of the total workers being dependent on it. Sea as well as rivers play a vital role in the economy of the area, as more than 20% people engage them on sea resources as well as fisheries to make both ends meet.
- Above 30% soil of the district is sandy and saline. Above 70% of land is used as single cropping. Ground water is saline in most of the areas. However it’s a mono- cropping area and people lack employment throughout the year except the harvesting & cultivation season. Because of this, they tend to migrate to other areas in search of employment.
- With the announcement of lockdown a majority of these people have become jobless. The situation becomes more aggravated due to heavy rainfall at the paddy harvesting season, exacerbating the situation for small scale farmers.
- Out of 7500 villages, 637 villages have been declared as backward villages by the Government of West Bengal. Most of the backward villages under 10 blocks are concentrated in the coastal part of the district. Amphan has hit them beyond imagination, creating a grave situation for survival of people in the district.
Current situation on the ground:
- Preliminary Calamity Assessment Report obtained from these coastal blocks shows a total of 76 GPs and 911 villages have been affected, accounting for 1068037 people. 15000 hectors of crop area have been destroyed, 53932 shelters have been fully damaged and 72587 houses have partially damaged by the cyclone. Three deaths have been reported in local newspapers so far, many dead livestock have come to notice, along with almost 4000 different varieties of trees that have uprooted in the storm. Biodiversity will be tremendously negatively affected as a result, fishes in ponds have also started to die due to saline water infiltration.
- Trees fell on school buildings and shelters, in many cases hanging with hazardous conditions, tin sheds of schools and local clubs have been blown away. Most of the grid electric polls have collapsed; drinking water services & mobile communication with all villages have been interrupted. Children, women & aged persons are in most vulnerable condition as they were afraid of COVID-19 infection in shelters, hygiene practises in shelters are practically non-existent.
- Rapid Needs Assessments by Kajla Janakalyan Samity & Block Administration of different blocks on 21st and 22nd May’20 shows that 23.69% (53932) of total affected households have fully lost their shelter & 31.90% (72587) of total households have partially lost their shelter in the most affected blocks and they are staying at Neighbor house.
- Accessibility to health services has taken a toll, as the village linking roads have been partially destroyed. Women are suffering from lack of privacy in regards to pregnancy and toilets.
- Most of the Multi Purpose Cyclone Shelters are well decorated but due to ignorance of the management team the service systems were not accessible in time. Management was not prepared to timely open the MPCS, lighting, food & drinking water arrangements at the shelter. On the other hand it was found that all facilities are available within the shelter but the victimized people have been deprived from their basic needs.
Need for support:
1. Immediate needs (<1 month):
- Temporary shelter materials (tarpaulin, bamboo); food ration and drinking water, kitchen utensils, clothes/blankets/torchlight/solar lantern.
- Provision of seeds ahead of monsoon season.
- Health services via mobile health camp, bringing awareness about water related diseases, hygiene materials, psychosocial support for children of victimized families.
2. Midterm needs (3-6 months):
- More resilient shelter & toilet construction
- Community level seed bank, adoption of NREGA works to establish livelihood.
- Restoration of health facilities, routine checkup and immunizations; coordinating with govt. Health departments.
- Repairing of school buildings, formation of volunteer teams for evacuation and overall safe handling.
3. Long term needs:
- Policy level advocacy with government and corporate houses for restoration/reconstruction of damaged shelters, government housing schemes (programs like PMAY)
- Livestock support for most vulnerable families, implementing National Food Security Act, advocacy with agri dept. on restoration of sustainable farming practises to reclaim livelihoods.
- Ensuring health facilities and building plan of action in emergency situations in cyclone prone areas.
- Integrating various Government departments viz. Inland water, Water resource department, DDMA, SSA, to map the vulnerability of the schools and equipped the most vulnerable schools with resources for immediate response; promote construction of flood/cyclone resilient school building.
- Advocacy for proper maintenance of Multi Purpose Cyclone Shelter (MPCS).