Amphan Diaries, 26th May:

30 social workers from Partners in Anti Trafficking in North 24 Parganas and Birangana Seba Samiti in South 24 Parganas have started extensive outreach to different communities to assess damage(a) 30 social workers from Partners in Anti Trafficking in North 24 Parganas and Birangana Seba Samiti in South 24 Parganas have started extensive outreach to different communities to assess damage, women and families who are particularly marginalised and at high risk – who should therefore be prioritised for rehabilitation support. Outreach has been challenging due to poor communication facilities, not only because of the lockdown but also because of road blockages because of fallen trees. As we’ve said before, 100% of the kuchcha houses have been destroyed or severely damaged and will need rebuilding or significant repairs. These organisations are organising the information and data and that is being centralised by Sanjog to determine the targeted beneficiaries.

(b) People are leaving flood centres out of distress. Each of these flood centres have 400-500 people, food is scarce, there is no baby food or milk, sanitation is a mess, many people are suffering from diarrhoea, getting clean fresh water is a challenge because most tubewells were swamped and contaminated.

(c) Women have started taking distress loans from local money lenders, who are charging 24 – 36% interest annually (2-3% per month). At this point, SHGs or self help groups are not functional and therefore women who are members are not being able to rely on SHGs for borrowing. Women are also distress selling jewellery that they may be wearing (earrings or bangles) which they were able to save from the cyclone.

(d) Panchayat stock of tarpaulins is about 100 to 150 whereas the need is for 2,500 – 3,000 per panchayat. In North 24 Parganas, violence has been reported in 4 Panchayats where villages have beaten up Panchayat members, gheraoed or threatened their family members. Women are trying to get the borrowed money and get hired labour to procure bamboo, tarpaulin sheets or plastic. Because the condition of the flood centres is particularly worse for women and children, they are in distress to set up some structure and return to their land or where their home used to be.

(e) Because there is no electricity, people who own generators have started charging exorbitant amounts of money to charge mobile phones. According to the latest reports, there is no possibility of electricity being restored before another couple of weeks. Mobile phones are the only way people are able to communicate and receive information updates on relief.

Sanjog fundraiser has been well received by social network of the organisational members. Funds have started trickling in. Sanjog’s Treasurer, Dora Chaudhuri, who is an expert on disaster management has taken the lead in organising logistics and transportation of materials, which should reach in a day or two. Right now, we are working on the collection and distribution points with the various community based organisations.

Tess Joseph Casting, who is one of Sanjog’s ex-board members and an award winning casting director has organised for a fundraising concert, the proceeds will be shared between Sanjog and Goonj. Thank you Tess.

Vijaya Devi, an HR professional and organisational consultant has not only contributed herself but also mobilised friends to donate. There are a few others who do not wish to be named.

A. Flood centres for safe shelters

1) The flood centers are useful, where there are no flood centers, high schools are being used. 3 in Basanti, 1 in Canning, 1 each in Bhangankhali and Sonakhali.

2) Out of 38 families that the organization is in touch with none of them went to the flood centers.

3) A lot of people are staying in the flood centers – almost 1 to 2 thousand people staying in each flood centre (100 to 150 families). BDO is supplying food to them.

B. Food and water problems in the community

1) All of them are facing food scarcity, water is contaminated. Many survivors are surviving on “bhaater fan” obtained from others, days old rice etc

C. Homes and homelessness

1) Out of 38, 11 survivors’ houses has been harmed away, they all had mud houses. There is an urgent need for tarpaulin and some have been using it for temporarily fixing their shelters.

2) A lot of the survivors and their families had taken shelter in high schools and neighbours’ houses for safety. Now they’ve returned. They are now returned and trying to rebuild again.

D. District and village administrative response

1) No govt representative have visited them – no member or Pradhan. There is a widespread perception that the negligence is due to party non-alignment.rnrn2) Spoke with Jt BDO, Canning 2, Canning BDO have said they have not received any official funds or reliefs for dealing with the cyclone disaster.rnrn3) The govt is absolutely silent – which is all the more shocking, despite knowing about the impending cyclone for so long.rnrn4) The police is refusing to take cases, even of rape, and are asking them to settle. All is to be resumed after lockdown according to them, as the courts are closed.rnrn

E. CBO offices and response

1) Office is unharmed.rnrn2) Some fundraising done from a donor in Gujarat to provide Eid materials to 50 to 52 families.

F. Survivors’ and families’ conditions

1) 25 to 30 of the survivors were connected with over phone. But not all could be visited. Amina visited some of them on Sunday. A lot of trees and electricity polls have fallen down. Main roads are okay, roads are still okay.rnA lot of places are still flooded by the river.rnrn2) Pond water has been completely ruined and contaminated – fishes have died. Almost all of the families have members suffering from diarrhoea, rashes and skin infections. Medicines are not accessible.rnrn3) Young women, along with their children, are on the roads beggingrnrn4) Returning migrant workers have now assimilated within the populace without testing. People are not thinking about it either, as taking care of the immediate needs are more urgent.rnrn5) Aptar Ali Molla, another social worker, has received almost 25 complaints of domestic violence.

Team Sanjog |
Tuesday , June 16, 2020

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