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Emergency relief efforts underway to help India cyclone victims

14 October 2014 - Christian Aid partners are involved in the relief effort now underway in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha after Cyclone Hudhud forced 350,000 people to abandon their homes.

Despite the mass evacuation to relief camps, at least 21 people are known to have died when winds of up to 125mph slammed into India’ s east coast at midday on Sunday.

The wind and incessant rain wrecked homes, uprooted trees, tore down power and communication lines, cut off road and rail links and flooded thousands of acres of farmland.

Fishermen and small scale farmers living in thatched huts and houses in both states were particularly vulnerable, with many of them still trying to recover financially from widespread flooding in August, and the destruction wrought by a cyclone last October.

Most of the deaths occurred in the city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, where houses were destroyed, and the roof blown off the city airport. Some 80 per cent of the city’s greenery was reportedly lost in the high winds.

The region  is prone to cyclone activity. Of the 35 deadliest storms in recorded history, some 27 have passed through the Bay of Bengal, landing in either India or Bangladesh.

Christian Aid’s regional emergency manager, Dipankar Patnaik, said: “India’s eastern coast and neighbouring Bangladesh are routinely hit by severe storms between April and November. This is the stark reality facing some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

“It is an incredibly worrying time. People fear for their safety, for their loved ones and for their livelihoods. Whole communities rely on farming and fishing to make ends meet. Rice, coconut, cashew and mango crops have been ruined, and with it people’s source of income.”

Christian Aid partner Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA ) is trying to get through to some of the remote villages to set up feeding centres.

Two other partners, the Society for National Integration and Rural Development (SNIRD) and Visionaries of Creative Action for Liberation & Progress (VICALP), are co-ordinating with other aid agencies the provision of tarpaulins and  water, sanitation and hygiene kits to worst hit areas.

Donations can be made to Christian Aid’s disasters and emergencies fund at www.christianaid.org.uk

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Further information from Andrew Hogg 0207 523 2058 or 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950.

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended:  this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.  Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk


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