Two of the districts of our work - North 24-Parganas and South 24 Parganas, have been ravaged by the super cyclone Amphan. It is anticipated that electricity would not be restored for the coming 10 to 15 days. Broken homes stand in areas which largely remain flooded.People who have braved this storm are reaching out to Panchayats and BDOs for tarpaulins (plastic sheets), food and clothing.
The distress of Amphan has been exacerbated by the pre-existing distress from COVID 19. The last two months had already seen a halt in economic activities and the worst affected were the daily wage earners, landless, women-headed and most marginal families with loss of livelihoods and many facing semi starvation. Funds have dried up as most of the available resources have been used up for COVID-19 relief.
Flood centres in the districts are currently sheltering 500 to 700 people. However, there is very poor/no provision for any sanitisation or even access to clean drinking water, adequate food and milk for babies and children. While doctors pay a visit once a day to attend emergencies or illnesses inside the flood shelters, cases of diarrhoea and stomach infections are being detected. Ration shops remain closed due to the earlier COVID-19 lockdown and Panchayat or BDO offices are unable to provide for all.
The demand/ need for tarpaulins and basic shelter materials is almost 15,000 in one Gram Panchayat(GP) vis-à-vis availability of 500 in each GP. Local money lenders and loan sharks are lending at 5 to 8% per month, and since many migrant families and trafficked victims do not have bank accounts or ration cards, they are being economically exploited in this manner. We fear the spiralling impact of all this into greater exploitation, debt bondage and even trafficking.
With the onset of Amphan and its catastrophic impact on the existing work being carried out, Sanjog aims to support 500 families (approx. 3000 people) in the North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas of West Bengal focusing on three areas of need:
Health for Hundreds
- Providing Tarpaulin for temporary shelters
- Dry rations as well as cooked food (depending on available logistics) once they return from the shelters
- Providing drinking water and chlorine tablets
- Providing Hygiene essentials- sanitisers, masks etc
- Providing bedding and utensils for some families
- Providing sanitary napkins for women and adolescent girls
- Medication for diarrhoea, infections thyroid, anaemia etc.
Homes of Hundreds
- Constructing or renovating kuccha houses, making houses safe for living
Hope and Dignity for Hundreds
- Micro loans/ micro grants for livelihood projects & income opportunities especially for the young women (survivors of trafficking)
Stand with Sanjog to rebuild homes and lives.