Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Disasters Count In Life

It is nearly three months since Cyclone Aila struck 18 districts out of 19 districts in West Bengal, affecting 6.8 million people, killing 139 persons, and over 100 million dollars in damages. The most affected were two southern districts : North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. By the time the relief operations were over in south Bengal, the northern districts of Malda, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar were affected by flash floods and river erosion. The landslides in Darjeeling however went without much news, other than for little media report on the problems relating to transport of materials during emergency from the plains to the hills. All these took place between 15 - 19 August 2009. Then came another disaster in southern districts of Bengal, where 10 districts were affected due to heavy rains. Worst hit was the Hooghly district, along with some parts of Burdwan and West Midnapore districts. These districts were thrown out of gear due to opening of two dams in the borders of West Bengal. According to government estimates, at least one million people were affected in the district of Hooghly alone! Over all, 180 persons have died and assets worth over 150 million has been wiped out since Aila, besides the long term impacts on children, livelihoods, education and health services. One thing seem to be becoming more and more clear: wherever there is a disaster....I seem to be the victim! That's on the lighter vein. I have been involving over 30 organizations to do four multi-sectoral assessments of the damages (3 in north bengal, 1 in south bengal), and over 35 persons to complete the exercise. The disasters have changed my life. Changed for ever!!!

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Hi Fr. Puthumai,

After reading your latest post, I'm wondering if you'd feel comfortable elaborating on how these recent disasters have changed your life forever. Please don't feel obligated to share more than you want to.