Several of a million people affected by cyclone Aila reside in small islands in the midst of canals and rivers in Sundarbans and the topology is making it difficult to rebuild their lives.


Cyclone Aila Victim Rehabilitation Still A Challenge
Last Updated: 2009-06-30T11:25:37+05:30
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Sundarbans Affected By Cyclone Aila
Sundarbans Affected By Cyclone Aila
Several of a million people affected by cyclone Aila reside in small islands in the midst of canals and rivers in Sundarbans and the topology is making it difficult to rebuild their lives.
The damage done by the May 25 cyclone is so bad that even the best humanitarian efforts are proving to be insufficient.

Thousands of people in the two West Bengal districts covered by the Sundarbans - South and North 24 Parganas - have lost the options of livelihood. Survival itself has become the most challenging task for them.

Zubin Zaman, humanitarian response manager with NGO Oxfam India, is working in Sundarbans to provide relief measures. He is in need of 10,000 mosquito nets as the residents are faced with mosquito menace.  

Gopal Pramanik, president of local NGO Sundarban Social Development Centre, said that the villages have been flooded with river water and the stagnant water has led to breeding of mosquitoes. 

Pramanik's organization is working in tandem with Oxfam India and many other agencies for relief work. Toilets and septic tanks remain underwater, plants in inundated areas are dying on account of saline water, cattle and livestock are also affected since water and food sources remain scarce.

Volunteers working in the Sundarbans emphasise the need to build a long-term plan for creating livelihood options, rebuilding houses, repairing schools and creating fresh and clean water sources.

In the absence of livelihood options, migration has already begun from many villages. The men are moving out leaving the women and children back. While some are going to neighbouring districts, many have moved to cities in West Bengal as well as other states.
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