Saturday, June 13, 2009

Small gains, some progress - Aila Update!

Dear Friends,

1. Several villages in Satjelia, Choto Mollakhali, Kumirmari and Patharpratima are still water-logged though pump sets are being used to take out the salt water from the ponds and farm fields. Many villagers here have taken shelter on the boats and are even using their boats for moving inside the Island since the roads are totally washed away and can not be reconstructed until the area remains under water.

2. While the relief operation is more or less organized now, the immediate task would be to clean up the fresh water ponds and pumping out the saline water form the villages and start the rehabilitation process – the people of Sunderbans feels. Another area that needs attention is the housing. No concrete and comprehensive plan has been announced so far. Villagers living in temporary shelters will face great difficulties once the monsoon hits the Islands. It is still not known if the Government is planning any specialized housing scheme keeping in mind that cyclones might hit the delta again in future. Dewatering of farmlands must be completed before the monsoon arrives so that villagers are able to plant crops and can manage to ensure the basic need of food.

3. Most of the inhabited Islands are now affected by Diarrhea. The hungry tide has rolled back its waves away into the sea, but the tide of patients continues to raise everyday with very limited number of doctors available to handle the situation. There is dearth of medicines and mosquito nets. In the absence of qualified medical practitioners quack doctors have been engaged to provide support though they may not be able to take the pressure for a long time. Supplying drinking water to remote villages has not been possible yet although many tube wells have been repaired and new ones are being erected.

4. A medical camp has been set up at the premises of WPSI Conservation Centre-Sunderbans Jungle Camp in Bali Island with a team of Doctors sent by Samarpan Foundation. The team will hold camps until 18th June and so far more than 800 villagers have received treatment. With generous support from WPSI, Kedar Bhide of Sumitomo Chemical Corporation, Samarpan Foundation and Sunderbans Jungle Camp medicines, saline and Olyset mosquito nets are being provided to patients from the camp free of cost.

For Cyclone Aila 2009 Support Group
Asit Biswas, Calcutta, India.

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