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Children safe though Village sustains minor damage in Indian cyclone

Though all children and mothers are safe, many trees were damaged
Though all children and mothers are safe, many trees were damaged

Following last week’s news that no one from our Children’s Villages was hurt in the cyclone which hit India last week, we have received a further update from our Village in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.

We are pleased to report that no SOS families were hurt in Cyclone Phailin, which struck the Indian states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. However, although all SOS families are safe and unharmed, our Children’s Village in Bhubaneshwar sustained minor damage. This is inevitable in any large-scale natural disaster, and we are relieved that the damage has been so limited!

“SOS Children’s families and facilities in India and other affected regions are fine and no adverse incidents are reported.”

Amit Kumar, SOS Children in Asia

Damage suffered at our Children's Village in Bhubaneshwar:

  • We are sorry to say that as many as 45 trees were uprooted or damaged within the Children’s Village. Many of these trees were large specimens, including species such as teak and badam.
  • The Village Director’s house suffered slight damage.
  • Some pathways were damaged, as well as two street lights.

Village Director's house damageSince the cyclone, clean-up work has taken place to remove all tree debris from rooftops and clear all roads approaching SOS family houses. This way, we can be sure that the Village remains a safe place for everyone who lives there, and that access to and from homes is unobstructed. Work is also being carried out to restore electricity and water as soon as possible.

Not only has the Village been made safe for children, mothers and staff - Bhubaneshwar is making the best of the cyclone! Any usable timber from the fallen trees has been cut up and stored for the future use of the Village. We’re very sad to have lost so many ancient and beautiful trees, but we’re pleased that they have not gone to waste.

Well-prepared for the full force of nature

Previous cyclones, such as the disastrous storm which hit Orissa in 1999, have wrought massive loss of life. 10,000 people lost their lives in the 1999 disaster, and many people accused the government of poor preparation as the storm approached. Phailin was expected to be India’s biggest cyclone since 1999, and although it did not develop into the “super-cyclone” many feared, it was still a hugely powerful storm.

This time, the authorities were well prepared for the onslaught. A million people were evacuated in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, and loss of life was relatively limited. However, much damage was caused to agriculture, with critical consequences for many families.

Weathering the storm at SOS Bhubaneshwar

Children’s Village Bhubaneshwar was also well prepared as the cyclone gathered force. We made sure all families had plenty of food, and that houses were well-stocked with staple items such as potatoes, onions, chhuda, and other vegetables. Everyone was supplied with candles and cooking gas, so that families could prepare food - even if they were left in the dark.

Tree fallen over path, Bhubaneshwar

We also advised SOS mothers to ensure they had set aside a healthy supply of drinking water so that everyone would remain properly hydrated in the event of a mains water cut-out. We also asked them to keep mobile phones and torches fully charged and switched on so that everyone could stay in touch. The Village Director looked after first-aid equipment, in case anyone needed medical attention.

We are very lucky that damage to the Village was as limited as it was, and that clean-up after the cyclone has been relatively straightforward. However, we are proud to report the measures we took to ensure everyone’s safety - we must always remain vigilant when natural disaster strikes.

Find out more about our work in Bhubaneshwar...