Weeks after cyclone Aila, civic amenities in disarray: Oxfam

June 12th, 2009 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Weeks after cyclone Aila devastated parts of West Bengal and its green lung the Sunderbans, an international aid body Friday said that hundreds of people are still struggling to avail of basic amenities in the area.
“Scarcity of drinking water is a major issue. Health and hygiene remain the major concern since dead carcasses (of animals) still lie around the location,” aid agency Oxfam said after carrying out a ground assessment.

“Toilets and septic tanks remain underwater, plants and vegetation in inundated areas are dying on account of saline water, cattle and livestock are also affected since water and food sources remain scarce,” it said in a report.

The aid organisation, which is active in relief operations in the area, claimed that water has not drained out completely from several places in North 24 Parganas district. Large sections of embankments have broken down and people fear flooding during monsoon.

Over 115 people were killed and above five million people were affected in the cyclone that hit the state May 25.

The agency urged the government to speed up work in the affected areas. “The monsoon is close by and any other relief or rehabilitation efforts, and the ability of affected families to return home and rebuild livelihoods with confidence will be severely hampered if this is not addressed immediately.”

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