In October 1999, a destructive combination of two low-pressure systems followed by heavy rainfall created a devastating catastrophe in the district of Orissa, India. The impact was threefold: firstly, the physical destruction caused by the storms. Secondly, the heavy rainfall which led to flooding and thirdly, a six-metre-high tsunami causing the land and ground water to be contaminated by concentrated levels of salt. The
hardest hit districts were Balasore, Cuttak, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jaipur and Kendrapara. According to relief organisations, the catastrophe affected more than 15 million people. The supply of drinking water was completely destroyed in the disaster area. Electricity and telecommunication systems were heavily damaged.
90-100% of the harvest was lost as crop and food stocks were carried away with the storm.
The most urgent problem was the contaminated drinking water, caused by dead bodies and animals in the water. There was also no access to water due to the loss of electricity, so pump stations were out of order. Most of the hand pumps were destroyed and draw wells could not be used as the ground water was contaminated by
salt. The clean up of dead bodies and animal cadavers became a severe problem and an urgent priority, and LFA was one of the few relief organisations that intervened.
We also offered emergency aid by providing nutrition, clothing and medicines to the survivors. Before the summer heat arrived in the country, LFA initiated the reconstruction of the destroyed houses. By providing bamboo for the skeletal structure and rice straw for the roofs, the local families were able to rebuild their houses in the traditional manner The cleanup and disinfection of the water wells took a long time. Many wells were completely destroyed and could not be repaired or used any longer. LFA drilled new ground water reservoirs in order to provide renewed access to clean drinking water for the population. In the Nupada District, along with UNICEF, the organisation constructed new water pumps for 30 villages and 25,000 inhabitants.
Project Duration :
Project Partner :