Lakshmi Returns Home After Fani

Lakshmi Returns Home After Fani

Grief and anxiety were writ large on Lakshmi Bhoi’s face. In the morning hours of 3rd May 2019 when Cyclone Fani made the landfall in Puri district, Lakshmi lost everything that she had worked so hard for so many years.
 
She along with her family were evacuated and shifted to a nearby multipurpose cyclone shelter, but when she returned to her village, Baungrban Balipada, she found out that each and every thatched house had been damaged and completely destroyed. When she reached to where her house used to be she says, “the house was broken and damaged, the thatched roof and wall everything was damaged.” 

India’s worst cyclone in 20 years, Cyclone Fani made landfall in Odisha and damaged half a million houses, displaced more than 14 lakh people and affected more than 1.6 crore people in the state. Oxfam India was at the ground. It provided 22,434 people with emergency shelter kits such as tarpaulins and ground sheets.

Speaking with Lakshmi at Balipada, Oxfam India’s distribution point, she expresses gratitude for providing her with emergency shelter and hygiene kits. She says, “Oxfam India has given us a lot of material that will help us to return to normalcy, but now we need support to rebuild the house and restore livelihood, otherwise life will become difficult for us”.  

Lakshmi’s son is a daily wage labourer and the sole breadwinner of the family but since the cyclone, he hasn’t been able to get any work and the family is struggling to make ends meet. To add to it there are concerns for the upcoming monsoon season. 

Lakshmi said “When we moved to the safe shelter we could only take some important things and left everything else behind. We did not even have clothes to wear. My daughter-in-law and I were struggling every day as we did not have clothes to wear. My grandchildren were struggling as well."

Though she continues to relive the trauma of the cyclone, she pauses once in a while to express her gratitude for the support she received. “We are thankful to the Almighty for giving us the strength to recover. We are thankful to you (Oxfam India) and others who felt for us and provided the material we needed the most”. 

READ: REBUILDING CYCLONE-AFFECTED LIVES IN ODISHA

Oxfam provided support to 4087 households with dignity and hygiene kits to the most affected marginalised communities in Puri district. As part of the hygiene and dignity kit, Oxfam provided materials like dress material for women and adolescent girls, items for personal and menstrual hygiene, buckets and mugs to store safe drinking water and chlorine (NaDCC) tablets to disinfect water. 

We are now helping cyclone-affected families rebuild their lives and get back on their feet. We aim to reach out to 30,000 households with 1,80,000 people in Puri, Khordha, and Jagatsinghpur districts in Odisha.

You can help us rebuild the lives of thousands of families. Support Now.

Text by Moitrayee Mondal, Gender and Programme Cycle Management Consultant and Basab Sarkar, Humanitarian Programme Coordinator, Oxfam India.


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