Bhubaneswar, June 10 (LocalWire): International humanitarian organisation, Doctors Without Borders or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teamed up with local volunteers in Puri to provide relief materials to people rendered homeless after severe cyclonic storm Fani devastated the coastal areas of the state on 3 May.
Led by Gret Verdonck, a resident of Belgium and the emergency coordinator of the organisation, the team arrived here soon after the calamity and is continuing their relief work in Puri’s Baliapanda.
‘We arrived here just after the cyclone and what we saw was horrific to describe. People were devastated and traumatised post the cyclone. Our team assessed the loss following which I was assigned to come here and coordinate the activities,’ said Gret, adding that their target is to reach at least 5,000 households.
He said they had a discussion with the state authorities as to where they should work to provide the humanitarian needs.
‘The district magistrate had then suggested Baliapanda since it was one of the worst affected areas,’ the coordinator added.
The organisation, after detailed consultation with the state authorities, targeted to distribute about 83 tonnes of shelter and hygiene material to 5000 households in the worst affected areas, especially the slums, in the identified locality.
In a next, they are also seeking permission of the state government to allow them to work in Cuttack with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme that will help restore clean drinking water for the people in the slums, villages and primary health care centres.
‘After a disaster of this magnitude, it’s important to assess the actual needs of the most vulnerable communities. Providing reliable shelter and clean water is of utmost urgency. As a medical humanitarian organisation, we provide access to clean drinking water to prevent water-borne infections,’ Gret said.
Gret, who also worked in the relief efforts during cyclone Kenneth that hit Mozambique in southeast Africa in April this year, said that the shelter and hygiene materials are the essential needs of people in such a situation.
‘The overall health and dignity of the communities are also important aspects of humanitarian response,’ the emergency coordinator said.