We have the advantage of having a network in these areas - where the villagers, already suffering from abject poverty and a lack of resources, now also wait in darkness for normalcy to return. The presence of water all around them has led to an increase of mosquitoes, putting them at risk of disease.
Fani struck Odisha in early May, affecting 14 districts across the state. Of these, the worst affected are parts of Cuttack, Puri and Khurda. That's where our campaign is focused.
These funds will be used to help the villagers located in the coastal Chilika area (Puri and Khurda districts), where 159 blocks, 51 ULBs and a total of 16,659 villages have been struck by the cyclone. That's a population of 1,50,93,513.
Human casualty has crossed 64 so far. Public infrastructure, including roads, telecom and KV towers, health facilities and schools have been damaged, while the summer crops are destroyed, leading to a loss of wage for many farmers. More than 6,000 fishing boats and nets have been damaged as well.
Most of Puri town remains in darkness even today, except a stretch of road near the Jagannath Temple. Most villages and block headquarters in Puri face the same reality as power restoration is likely to still take a few weeks.
I understand that that's a tall order, and I don't set out here to repair such a big hole. Through our friends located in these areas, all we'd like is to provide some families the following relief items so that they have some light to get them through this pitch dark phase of their lives.
We have already started relief work in these areas (please see the pictures attached to the campaign) and with your help, we will be providing the following to many more families in need:
* Solar lamps: The total darkness compels people to step out of their homes at night to seek moonlight, however this puts them at risk of snake bites.
* Baby food: There are many infants aged <1 year
* Handheld fans: For some relief in the summer heat. Day temperatures are touching 40 degrees at this time, which, along with the humidity, makes these areas intolerable.
* Mosquito nets: High spike in mosquito population due to the fallen vegetation that has damaged the local ponds and wells.
It's worthy to note that the government is operating free kitchens at the village levels, and some NGOs are doing this for these Dalit villages as well. For this reason, we are not seeking funds to collect foodgrain.