More than 12 million people were affected when Cyclone Phailin battered the east coast of India on 12 October 2013. The states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh were hit hardest.
Our partners responded immediately. Over the last year we have reached more than 116,000 people in some of the worst affected and most isolated areas.
Prakash Nayak received training in carpentry, gaining essential skills to help rebuild his community.
Our emergency response
In the immediate aftermath, our partners reached more than 76,000 people with emergency relief.
Items included food, sleeping mats, blankets and emergency shelter kits, comprising a tarpaulin, groundsheet, ropes and a solar lantern.
In the first few days, Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) ensured almost 12,000 people received cooked meals or dry rations.
'In emergencies such as this, it is the poor and marginalised who are most affected,' says Dipankar Patnaik, our Regional Emergency Manager.
'Without assets to fall back on, households find it extremely difficult to meet their basic needs.'
Since Cyclone Phailin, we and our partners have been supporting people to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.
Rebuilding homes and livelihoods
With support from ECHO (European Commission Humanitarian Aid) our local partners, Visionaries of Creative Action for Liberation and Progress (VICALP) and Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS), reached more than 40,000 people.
Cash grants were allocated, rice farmers were given seeds and water treatment systems were installed at community water points, ensuring access to safe, clean drinking water.
Village masons received tools, as well as training in carpentry and the construction of disaster resilient homes.
The skills they gained helped to rebuild homes devastated by the cyclone, while the cash-for-work projects provided a vital source of income for those involved.
‘Early warning systems in the area ultimately saved thousands of lives.'
Prepared for disaster
The last time a storm of this magnitude smashed into Odisha’s coastline was 14 years ago.
The 1999 cyclone devastated homes and infrastructure, killing more than 10,000 people.
While any loss of life is a tragedy, this time the death toll was much lower - 43 people were killed.
Dipankar adds: ‘While every cyclone is unique in its intensity, path and impact, much can be said for the thorough planning and preparedness of communities in its path.
‘Early warning systems in the area have proved very effective. They have ultimately saved thousands of lives.’
Life-saving search and rescue
Christian Aid partners have been working with the coastal communities in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for almost two decades.
They have established an extensive network of Disaster Management Task Forces all along the coast.
They have increased the resilience of coastal communities, preparing them for emergencies such as Cyclone Phailin, as well as teaching them about life-saving search and rescue activities, and the importance of having available stockpiles of emergency relief supplies.