13 October 2013
The British Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal to help millions of people affected by a huge cyclone in India.
Today (13 October) the organisation released an initial £50,000 from its Disaster Fund to provide immediate relief to survivors.
Cyclone Phailin made landfall on India's eastern coast on 12 October 2013, and was the second most powerful cyclone to strike the country in recorded history. Early reports suggest about 8million people have been affected, and more than 200,000 homes damaged.
Heavy rainfall and winds of up to 140mph caused huge damage and put many lives at risk. Between 500,000 and one million people in Odisha and Andhra Prahesh State were helped to leave their homes. Relief camps have been set up in cyclone shelters, schools and public buildings.
The cyclone has destroyed homes and livelihoods in a part of India particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, and could cause floods and landslides. The area's communication and travel networks have been badly damaged.
The Indian Red Cross Society, which has already mobilised volunteers and opened up to 75 evacuation centres, will continue to support people affected by the disaster.
The organisation is handing out tarpaulins to make simple emergency shelters and family packs of relief items, including buckets, kitchen utensils and blankets. It has also set up a water treatment unit to provide clean water to displaced families.
The Indian Red Cross Society is assessing what longer term work will be needed to give people shelter and help them rebuild their lives.
Pete Garratt, British Red Cross disaster response manager, said: “All indications point to sterling work by Indian authorities in saving lives. However, we are aware that Cyclone Phailin has left a massive trail of destruction, the impact of which will prove devastating to people’s livelihoods and homes.
"We therefore appeal to the public to support with donations and aid the Indian people in recovering from this disaster."
Donate to the appeal now.