Remember Cyclone Phailin? How it caused devastation last October in the State of Orissa? Of particular concern to Jeevika and its partner, Jeevan Rekha Parishad (JRP), was the damage and devastation it created on the Island of Berhampur. Situated in the Chilika Lagoon and bordered by the Bay of Bengal, it is here that JRP works with the 2,800 island villagers to generate income through the cultivation of crabs and prawns, bananas, peanuts, coconuts and vegetables. The impact of Cyclone Phailin left many of these activities needing to start again. The project’s funder – www.innocentfoundation.org – generously donated more funds to restore the project.
When JRP staff – together with Jeevika’s India Coordinator and Programme Officer -visited the island to review the project and the cyclone’s damage, we discovered that many houses had lost their thatched roofs and families were without resources to replace them. The government provided bags of rice, but not roofs.
As we walked past paddy fields and large crab ponds – both heavily flooded – we came upon Mr Rankanidhi Bhoi sitting outside his home, crying. 75 years old, his limbs paralysed for the last five years, he said: ‘My Heaven has lost my home. How will my family survive?’