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Cyclone survivors in India continue to face huge health risks with lack of shelter, clean water and food, reports children’s charity Plan International.
The country’s eastern coastline has been devastated and many areas remain without power following Cyclone Phailin last weekend.
More than a million people were evacuated from the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh ahead of the storm, which kept the death toll relatively low.
But many families returning to their villages are facing scenes of devastation.
“The whole district of Ganjam is still in darkness and estimates suggest it might take a fortnight to restore power,” says Mudasser Siddiqui, Plan’s Emergency Response Manager in India.
“Almost all villages along the coast are devastated, with roofs blown off.
“Livelihood losses are exceptionally high in the area, with boats and fishing gear badly damaged and thousands of hectares of cropland under water.”
Aid workers from Plan International have been deployed to the affected areas and are focusing on sanitation.
“Safe drinking water and sanitation is a major problem as many water sources are submerged and contaminated. A diarrhoea outbreak cannot be ruled out,” adds Mr Siddiqui.
Schools in the area are currently closed because of a festival and it is unclear when they will re-open.
A boy in the village of Nuagon, Odisha, says: “All people in our village are famers and we have lost all our crops.
“We were given some rice and pulses but it is all soaked in cyclone water and we can’t eat it. I don’t know when my school will start.”
There are particular concerns over child protection, especially the safety of adolescent girls, who may be at risk while using unlit sanitation facilities as power cuts continue.
Cyclone Phailin was India’s strongest storm in 14 years and affected an estimated 9 million people.
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