BHUBANESHWAR, India/DHAKA, Bangladesh (May 3, 2019) — As dangerous Cyclone Fani made landfall in eastern India today, CARE emergency response teams continued readying for relief efforts there and in neighboring Bangladesh, where more than one million Rohingya refugees are living in areas vulnerable to mudslides.
CARE has pre-positioned stocks of relief kits in India to ensure quick distribution, with a special focus on the needs of vulnerable populations, including women and girls. The comprehensive relief kits include sanitation items for women and girls, shelter provisions and other emergency supplies.
“CARE has been working in Odisha for several years, making Bhubaneshwar an important center of operations,” said Shantamay Chatterjee, regional project director based in Bhubaneshwar. “We have been monitoring the situation closely and will take necessary actions to respond to the impact of Cyclone Fani.”
Around 800,000 people from 11 districts of Odisha have already been evacuated to 880 shelters, and disaster response authority personnel have been deployed. The government has prepositioned 54 disaster management agency teams. Fani may disrupt communication lines and damage roads, property and livestock. Several trains have been cancelled and the state capital airport at Bhubaneshwar is expected to be closed down.
CARE is also prepared to support in neighboring Bangladesh, where nearly 60 million people from 26 districts in Bangladesh – including over one million Rohingya – refugees are exposed to cyclonic storm and heavy rainfall.
Bangladesh authorities are evacuating hundreds of thousands of people to over 3,800 storm shelters from the 19 southeast and southwest coastal districts. The government has already suspended inland and coastal vessel operations countrywide. Over 50,000 volunteers from Cyclone Preparation Programme have been alerted in the coastal areas.
CARE Bangladesh is mobilizing all of its staff and resources from around the country to prepare for impact of cyclone Fani. In some areas, goods are being prepositioned, the assessment teams are ready to assess damage, and all teams are ready to rescue, repair and rebuild.
“Cyclone Fani is heading towards Bangladesh through India and is likely to hit Bangladesh by Friday midnight or early Saturday morning,” says Zia Choudhury, CARE’s country director in Bangladesh. “The best-case scenario currently predicted is that heavy rains and strong winds will lash the coast for hours, if not days. The worst scenario will see massive destruction of homes, buildings, roads, electric lines, crops and more.”
Along with countrywide program participants and staff, CARE is particularly concerned about over one million Rohingya refugees and the host community around the camps. Although Cox’s Bazar remains outside the direct trajectory of the storm, heavy wind or heavy rainfall there can induce landslides and may impact on shelters, latrines and clinics, loss of assets, contaminated water sources and even loss of life.
“The places these refugees live is fragile even when dry,” said Paul Daniels, CARE’s assistant country director, humanitarian response, Cox’s Bazar. “When it rains heavily, the hilly, bare, terrain can become a muddy and hazardous place. I worry about the refugees and the host communities, especially women and girls, who usually suffer most. Our staff is mobilized to respond, especially in Camps 13 and 16, where we are responsible for over 60,000 people.”
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit: www.care.org.