Odisha Needs Your Help. Here’s What You Can Do
A view of the destruction caused by Cyclone Fani after its landfall, in Puri. (PTI) 

Odisha Needs Your Help. Here’s What You Can Do

Cyclone Fani, which battered the Odisha coast last week, wreaked havoc across one of India’s poorest states.

While preparedness helped bringing down fatalities, the damage to public infrastructure has been extensive.

Winds travelling at nearly 200 kilometre per hour tore through 14 districts in the state, affecting nearly 1.51 crore people in 16,647 villages, and killing 37 on May 8. Nearly 43,643 kilometre of transmission lines have been affected, leading to power outages, according to Odisha State Disaster Management Authority. Over five lakh houses have been damaged, it said.

The state’s especially affected and its recovery becomes impeded since one out of every three people in Odisha lives below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. 

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in a tweet, sought Rs 10,000 crore for energy infrastructure and Rs 7,000 crore for “disaster-proof houses” and telecom network that that can withstand extreme weather. “Odisha spends thousands of crores every year on repair and restoration following such disasters,” Patnaik tweeted.

The central government has so far given Rs 1,341 crore to cyclone-ravaged Odisha. But much more needs to be done.

Donating to the Odisha Chief Ministers Relief Fund is one of the ways of contributing, there are other ways to do your bit.

While help poured in from all corners during the Kerala floods, the response this time has been meek, according to Goonj India founder Anshu Gupta. “Since the evacuation was successful, the extent of large-scale damage was undermined,” he said.

“People relate a disaster to deaths.”

“While Goonj received an overwhelming response during the Kerala floods, this large-scale disaster received the ‘lowest-possible’ response from corporates and the people,” he said. The non-governmental organisation makes family kits—which includes clothes, sanitary aid, food ration and other essentials for a family of four— from the aid they receive.

Odisha urgently needs mosquito nets, tarpaulins, utensils to cook, and candles as people have very little left to get back to. The organisation will be collecting relief aid— which includes basic toiletries, staple food items, medicines, and clothes— from May 11 in major metro cities. You can find the collection camps here. They also need monetary aid for the logistics bit of their efforts.

Women in Odisha with their relief aid from Goonj. 

Odiya Communities Unite

The Odiya community in Mumbai and Bengaluru has started their collection drive for relief aid, which includes candles, mosquito nets, drinking water and food essentials. In Mumbai, a group of 100 individuals belonging to the Odiya community are collecting essentials like dry ration, sanitary material, blankets and candles.

RK Mahapatra, who is a part of the collection drive in Navi Mumbai, said he has been collecting non-monetary aid from Mumbai and Thane too. “So far, we have sent 12,000 litre of bottled water to Puri which is currently in a worse state than Kerala was in August,” he said. Mahapatra, who hails from Puri, said he is collecting relief aid at Kerala Bhawan in Navi Mumbai. The group will be sending a truck of relief aid to Puri on Monday, which will be collected by a group of social workers and a deputy superintendent of police the group has contacted.

Priyabrata Dash from the Bangalore Pravasi Odia Parviar—a group collecting relief aid across Bengaluru—said that the group has already sent a truck to Odisha with relief supplies. While the truck takes two-and-a-half days to reach Puri, Dash said they will be shipping these packages on Sunday by air through IndiGo Airlines which has offered to ship these for free. “We are in touch with groups in Puri and Bhubaneshwar who let us know what they need and we try collecting and sending those things.”

The lack of electricity along with hot and humid weather in the cyclone-affected areas has made candles and drinking water the need of the hour, he said. “More than clothes, we also need these materials and some animal feed since a large number of livestock has also been displaced.”

The Central Railways and a few airlines have offered to ship the relief material for free.

Give India’s campaign to raise funds directs the proceeds to the CM Relief Fund or one of their on-ground NGO partners in Odisha.

Food delivery platform Zomato has partnered with Feeding India to serve cooked meals to people in the cyclone-affected areas. One can contribute food packages for those affected in Odisha by buying these meals on the Zomato app.

You can also be a volunteer and serve food with Feeding India volunteers in the affected areas in Odisha.

You can also go to Paytm app and directly donate to the relief fund.

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