Cyclone Gaja (गज- Sanskrit word for elephant)
BLESS assessment teams have been mobilized across the city and to nearby towns. The need here is great as we have seen an abnormal rise of sea levels has inundated the low lying areas of coastal regions drowning human beings and livestock, eroding beaches and embankments, flooding neighborhoods and towns, destroying vegetation and reducing soil fertility. Communities livelihoods vanished overnight. More than 1 million forest and fruit-bearing trees across the coastline, a vital source of income for agricultural laborers and small farmers were decimated. A sea of paddy and other cash crops, submerged. A government survey of the areas categorically states that 90% of agricultural and horticultural crops were completely gutted leaving no income source from farmlands.
BLESS is mobilizing a group of professionals and volunteers to provide emergency relief to 1,800 people. Cleaning, repairing, and rebuilding will be our main goal. Work will include cleaning up debris from the storm, cutting down trees, cleaning and rebuilding destroyed houses, cleaning and pumping polluted water sources. BLESS needs to funds to buy materials (tarpaulin, mosquito nets, hammers, poles, ropes, nails, solar lights), hire professionals (ie woodcutters, machine operators), rent heavy machinery, trucks, and bulldozers, as well as feeding and transport costs for all those helping in the relief efforts.
The needs in the cyclone-affected areas are immense. 80% of the people surveyed in the affected areas definitely state that the aid received is insufficient. In some cases, no aide has even reached villages the at all. Government aid and supplies have been trickling in but remote and interior settlements remain untouched.