Relief efforts not sufficient for Aila victims: Oxfam

June 2nd, 2009 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Oxfam, a leading humanitarian relief and development agency, has pointed out in an assessment report that the ongoing relief operations are not sufficient to meet the needs of the people affected by the Aila cyclone.
“Though the government of West Bengal has been very proactive in responding to the cyclone Aila by carrying out immediate search and rescue work, the relief operations are not sufficient to meet the needs of the affected people,” said Nisha Agrawal, CEO, Oxfam India.

An Oxfam India assessment report carried out in 24 South Paraganas district reveals that people who are staying in the camps have not yet received aid in adequate quantities though the government has started sending chura (flattened rice) and jaggery to the villages.

People who are staying in their own houses, do have stock of food grains but face the crisis of fuel wood. There is no availability of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene cover does not exist, threatening the health of people in relief camps.

“People in many villages have complained that they are not getting sufficient amount of food, safe drinking water and adequate shelter. We have therefore decided to reach out to as many affected people as possible in the relief camps,” she added.

According to the assessment report prepared by an Oxfam India team after visiting the cyclone affected areas, dead fish and animal carcasses are spread around and foul smell is emanating from all the places.

Sporadic cases of diarrhoea have also been reported from different affected villages. People are afraid of diarrhoeal outbreak in coming days.”

So far, 125 deaths have been reported due to Cyclone Aila, which tore through extensive parts of West Bengal May 25, levelling houses, uprooting trees, snapping power cables and leaving a trail of destruction in 13 of of the state’s 19 districts.

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