Cyclone Phailin – Islamic Relief reaches over 18,000 people
When Cyclone Phailin crashed into Odisha state, India, in October 2013, 12 million people were affected. Over half a million evacuated the area, and countless more lost their homes and possessions – including Sakir Mohammad.
“Our families left for safety, but around 14 of us decided to stay back,” recounts Sakir as he remembers the moment his village of Bhagbanpur Basti was struck. “Very high sea water came – around eight feet high. The wind was so strong that the coconut trees were touching the ground. It was a very scary sight. I still cannot forget that night.”
Sakir worked as a day labourer, and his family were already poor, but Cyclone Phailin took everything. “My house got damaged because of the wind. We did not have much, but all my belongings were in the house.”
In the aftermath of the superstorm, Islamic Relief’s emergency response team began distributing aid immediately to families like Sakir’s.
We reached over 18,000 people with vital food aid, teaming up with local partner Oxfam India. Families in Ganjam and Puri districts – Sakir’s village is in the latter – were given food parcels designed to last for more than two weeks. Essential items like rice, daal, salt, oil and spices were provided – as well as biscuits for children.
Sakir says that his family will feel the effects of this cyclone for years to come. “My brothers and I had 2.5 acres of cashew plantation. All the trees have been uprooted and damaged. The loss is so great, it will take us another 20 years before we can fully recover and stand on our feet.”
Once the first emergency phase is over, Islamic Relief plans to help families like Sakir get back on their feet in much less time than 20 years. We hope to support thousands of people to restore their livelihoods, enabling them to earn a living again, as well as helping them prepare for future disasters so that they never have to feel this vulnerable again.d – thank you.