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Save the Children has launched an initial appeal for INR 21 crore (US$ 3.5 mn) to support the government -- while working with NGO partners -- to provide timely relief to those affected in Cyclone Phailin. The response goal is to alleviate suffering, restore dignity and ensure timely recovery of the worst affected families in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The money raised would help procure integrated house-hold kits, containing food baskets, hygiene kits, tarpaulin sheets, blankets and solar lamps. Save the Children would establish Child-friendly Spaces where trained caregivers would provide alternative learning space and psycho-social care for children. Cash transfers to the most vulnerable families would also be undertaken to enable families to rapidly restore their broken homes and other critical needs.
Save the Children (www.savethechildren.in) has procured emergency hygiene and food kits for families in most need which will now be distributed. “While the human casualties have been limited thanks to the successful evacuation,” informed Thomas Chandy, CEO, Save the Children, “our response draws from the fact that, this time around, it is the survivors who have been affected who would need support right up to the point so that their lives return to normal.”
Save the Children has been working in Odisha implementing disaster preparedness programmes from 2007 onwards and it works with communities, including schools and children, to prepare them to play an active role in disaster management. “Our teams were on the ground supporting the administration in evacuation even during the cyclone, are now ready to provide support to the government and NGO partners to respond to any needs emerging from the cyclone for affected people,” reported Chandy. Save the Children is working with government and partners now to quickly assess the needs of children as cyclone Phailin continues to hit Odisha and other parts of eastern India. It has its staff present in five teams that have jointly set out yesterday morning from Bhubaneswar and Srikakulam and is participating in Inter Agency Group meetings and discussions and is also in touch with the state administration.
Save the Children congratulated the state governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for the successful evacuation of people to shelters prior to the arrival of cyclone Phailin, which undoubtedly protected thousands of lives. Save the Children also acknowledges the strong support of the government machinery that has been spearheading disaster management programmes in the state for almost a decade now; and worked closely with the government and its local NGO partners during the evacuation process. As a result of this support, shelters (for floods/cyclones) have come up in vulnerable areas, weather monitoring has been enhanced and, importantly, awareness of communities about practices for disaster risk reduction has been heighted. Save the Children urges the Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments to ensure that after a very successful evacuation drive, the process of relief distributions and rehabilitation is delivered immediately with a focus on the most marginalized and poor communities with special attention to vulnerable and malnourished children.
Given some media reports stating that relief, following the cyclone, has been sluggish, Chandy commented that “it is imperative that the government continues rehabilitation and restoration of livelihood of affected people with the same vigour as the evacuation drive, and that timely assistance is provided to those who need it.”
Save the Children will continue to engage with the government and its NGO partners till the pressing needs for relief and rehabilitation have been taken care of. It will also ensure focus on the needs of children, who comprise more than 40 per cent of the state’s population and who, during emergencies such as this, are always the most vulnerable.
Save the Children works in 120 countries around the world and in 15 states of India. The four thematic areas of its work for children are education, emergencies, health and protection. http://www.savethechildren.in/
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