Emergency Relief for Victims of Cyclone Phailin

 
$10
$84,990
Raised
Remaining
Aug 4, 2014

Responding to Cyclone Phailin - Mission Complete!

International Medical Corps Mobile Medical Unit
International Medical Corps Mobile Medical Unit

Background: International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team arrived in India within 24 hours following the landfall of Cyclone Phailin, a catastrophic storm roughly the size of Hurricane Katrina, which struck India’s eastern coast on October 12, 2013. Cyclone Phailin's winds reached gusts of 125 miles per hour and storm surges of ten feet inundated the districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak and Jajpur in Odisha State. Before the storm, the government pre-emptively evacuated nearly one million people across the two most affected states of Odisha (873,000) and Andhra Pradesh (100,000). While authorities put the death toll from the massive storm at 30 - far fewer than feared - more than 12 million people were affected by the cyclone. In its wake, Cyclone Phailin left wide-scale crop destruction, contaminated water supplies, the threat of disease and a devastated infrastructure.

Hundreds of thousands of people returned to their homes to find them damaged or completely destroyed, while flooding caused by the storm contaminated water supplies and caused an increase in upper respiratory infections, skin diseases, and a steep increase in cases of diarrhea. These diseases were in danger of spreading quickly at overcrowded evacuation centers that often had poor sanitation conditions.

Initial Emergency Response Activities: International Medical Corps began its emergency response in Odisha where an estimated 200,000 people were stranded due to flooding in two of the hardest-hit districts: Balasore and Mayurbhanj. Many communities in Balasore were not prepared for the continuous rain that flooded 1,725 villages, affecting 348,778 people and over 260 square miles of crops. In Mayurbhanj, the destruction was similarly devastating, with floods affecting 737 villages, 342,260 people, and over 200 square miles of crops.

In partnership with the Chief District Medical Officers and local health authorities, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team deployed mobile medical units to more than 38 villages marooned by the cyclone in Balasore and Mayurbhanj and provided more than 24,000 critically-needed primary healthcare consultations. Working through local partners, International Medical Corps also distributed 900 hygiene kits to 5,000 people that included sanitary and non-food items, such as, soap, laundry detergent, mosquito nets and water containers, to thwart the spread of communicable disease.

In support of the Government of Odisha’s nutrition program targeting children and pregnant and lactating women, International Medical Corps provided information, education and communication materials to the Balasore District Welfare Office as much of their awareness materials were damaged in the floods. International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response team delivered materials on the importance of breastfeeding and vaccinations for newborns, and monitoring weight and nutrition of their children, that will be provided to the government-supported nutrition centers all over Balasore district.

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team continued to provide emergency healthcare to communities recovering from the disaster throughout November, and completed its last mobile medical unit operations on November 30 in order to transition to early recovery and longer-term development programs.

Building Back Better with Local Partners: Working with its local partner, Unnayan, International Medical Corps focused its efforts on reducing future disaster risks, specifically related to the water supply and the links between hygiene and health. Using a comprehensive approach that includes rehabilitation of water sources, construction of hygiene facilities, stockpiling and dissemination of hygiene supplies, and hygiene education and promotion, International Medical Corps and Unnayan worked to ensure that families and communities are prepared to protect water sources and thwart the spread of communicable diseases before and after a disaster strikes.

  • Improving Infrastructure: A wide-spread challenge in Odisha during the disaster was the submersion of hand pumps by flood waters, causing them to become contaminated with various water borne diseases. To mitigate this issue, International Medical Corps and Unnayan constructed elevated platforms in eight villages to raise the height of hand pumps, which will help prevent the submersion of the pumps during future flooding. Additionally, teams taught families how to chlorinate water from private household hand pumps to ensure their safety. In total, International Medical Corps and Unnayan raised the platforms of eight hand pumps in seven different villages in the Balasore district and chlorinated an additional 20 existing wells. To ensure that these improvements make a lasting impact, groups of men and women in each village were trained on proper water-source protection and water quality monitoring.
  • Investing in the Future Through Education: International Medical Corps and Unnayan also implemented an awareness campaign focused on safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices at the individual household level, community level, and in 10 schools. In addition, International Medical Corps provided professional development and training to community healthcare workers and hygiene promoters in India. Training is focused on best practices in providing community-based education on women’s personal hygiene; safety processes for drinking, storing, and handling water; use of latrines; and the hazards associated with unhygienic behavior such as not washing hands. In conjunction with hygiene education, 900 hygiene kits were provided to students, and hygiene and first aid kits were distributed to 10 schools.  
  • Improvements that Respect People and the Environment: Further, consultations with villagers that took place in November 2013 revealed the need for longer-term solutions to hygiene needs and challenges, especially for girls and women. In response to these concerns, International Medical Corps supported the construction of bathing cubicles in eight villages in Balasore District, which were connected to the previously elevated hand pump platforms, and allow girls and women to have a private area to bathe. The use of soaps and washing detergents is localized within the cubicles, with little runoff, which reduces the environmental impact of contaminants to local rivers and other natural water sources.

Conclusion: In the weeks following Cyclone Phailin, International Medical Corps transitioned from emergency response primary health care activities to restoring capacity and building self-reliance in storm-ravaged areas by developing solutions to mitigate destruction from future storms, helping local communities to become their own, best First Responders. While no area is immune to the damage that can be unleashed by a storm of Cyclone Phailin’s magnitude, families and communities can be equipped with the tools and knowledge in areas such as water, sanitation and hygiene to prepare for future emergencies and recover more quickly. Support from Global Giving helped ensure that the people of India are more resilient and have the tools they need to prepare for future disasters. This project accomplished much more than origninally intended and is fully funded and complete!

International Medical Corps hygiene kit
International Medical Corps hygiene kit
Submerged Hand Pump
Submerged Hand Pump
demonstrating the height this well will be raised
demonstrating the height this well will be raised
Completed pump with attached bathing cubicle
Completed pump with attached bathing cubicle
Hygiene Education Session by Unnayan
Hygiene Education Session by Unnayan
Apr 22, 2014

From Relief to Self-Reliance, Shifting Strategies in India

Complete Bathing Cubicle
Complete Bathing Cubicle

In November 2013, International Medical Corps began to move from its emergency response strategy of delivering health care through mobile medical units, to a more long-term strategy of building the resilience of local communities through training and improving access to clean water sources.

Working with communities in the same areas ravaged by the cyclone, International Medical Corps has since been focused on restoring capacity and building self-reliance in these communities by developing solutions to mitigate destruction from future storms, such as investing in strategies to help communities access clean water and thwart the spread of disease -- which ultimately help local community members to become their own, best First Responders.

International Medical Corps has helped lay the foundation for building resilience in India through the following strategies:

  • Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: In November, International Medical Corps’ team developed an early recovery plan to respond to longer-term water needs and challenges, especially for women and girls. Working with our local partner, these efforts focused on reducing future disaster risks, specifically related to ensuring a clean water supply and educating the community on the links between hygiene and health. An awareness campaign on safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices was implemented at the community level and in ten schools beginning in January 2014, and was timed in conjunction with the distribution of hygiene kits that include water purification tabs, jerry cans, soap, shampoo and other basic necessities to help families stay healthy.
  • Improving InfrastructureOne of the main challenges of ensuring clean water in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Phailin was the submersion of hand pumps in flood waters, which can contaminate the water source and lead to the spread of epidemic-causing diseases such as cholera and other water-borne illness. In December, International Medical Corps identified eight villages with compromised water supplies due to flooding and the submersion of pumps, and constructed elevated platforms to raise the height of hand pumps in these villages. Bathing cubicles were also attached to the raised platforms, providing girls and women with a safe, hygienic, and private bathing area, thereby preserving their dignity and simultaneously reducing the environmental impact on local water sources.
  • Supporting, not displacing, local programs: International Medical Corps restocked education materials, such as health care posters and pamphlets, to the Balasore District Welfare Office as much of their outreach materials were damaged in the floods.  By restocking their supply, International Medical Corps provided surge capacity, helping the local office maintain their ongoing programs, even in the face of disaster – helping to ensure uninterrupted health services and maintain the health of the community overall. 

Next Steps:

International Medical Corps will continue to expand its capacity building work in Cyclone Phailin affected areas in India by further developing the resilience of local communities through activities focused on water and sanitation awareness, such as campaigns delivered in schools, during community gatherings, and at other events. International Medical Corps is using its local network of experienced health and hygiene promoters, who speak the local language, to communicate key messages to villagers and students, verbally and visually, on a range of health topics, including: women’s personal hygiene, safety processes for drinking/storing/ handling water, use of latrines, and the hazards associated with unhygienic behavior such as not washing hands. Additional schools located in the low-lying villages affected by the cyclone will be selected for awareness campaigns and will also receive first aid and hygiene kits.

True to its mission, International Medical Corps has moved on from disaster response to rebuilding self-reliance, supporting communities’ efforts to recover and remain resilient after future disasters, and providing them with the tools they need to be their own best First Responders.

Inernational Medical Corps Mobile Medical Unit
Inernational Medical Corps Mobile Medical Unit
Chlorinating a Hand Pump
Chlorinating a Hand Pump
Building an Elevated Hand Pump
Building an Elevated Hand Pump
Education Materials in Balasore District
Education Materials in Balasore District
Hygiene Promotion at a School in Balasore District
Hygiene Promotion at a School in Balasore District
Jan 16, 2014

Delivering Emergency Relief to Victims of Cyclone Phailin and Building Future Capacity

Flood Devastation, REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Flood Devastation, REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Emergency Response Summary:

International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team responded within 24 hours to provide essential medical care to the hardest-hit areas in India following Cyclone Phailin, a catastrophic storm roughly the size of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the country’s eastern coast on October 12, 2013. While authorities put the death toll from the massive storm at 30 - far fewer than anticipated - more than 12 million people were affected by the cyclone. In its wake, Cyclone Phailin left wide-scale crop destruction, contaminated water supplies, the threat of disease and a devastated infrastructure; hundreds of thousands of people returned to their homes to find them damaged or completely destroyed due to high winds and flooding. In addition to providing emergency services, International Medical Corps is working with local partners to provide training and rehabilitate water supplies, helping to thwart the spread of disease, support recovery efforts and rebuild self-reliance.

 

International Medical Corps Responded Quickly with Immediate Relief After Cyclone Phailin:

International Medical Corps Response: Cyclone Phailin struck India’s eastern coast on October 12, 2013 with winds gusting at 125 miles per hour and storm surges of ten feet, inundating the districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak and Jajpur in Odisha State. The government evacuated nearly one million people across the two most affected states of Odisha (873,000) and Andhra Pradesh (100,000).

Within 24 hours of the storm making landfall, International Medical Corps was on the ground in Odisha where an estimated 200,000 people were stranded due to flooding in two of the hardest-hit districts: Balasore and Mayurbhanj. Many communities in Balasore were not prepared for the continuous rain that flooded 1,725 villages, affecting 348,778 people and over 260 square miles of crops. In Mayurbhanj, the destruction was similarly devastating, with floods affecting 737 villages, 342,260 people, and over 200 square miles of crops. In partnership with the Chief District Medical Officers and local health authorities, International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Team deployed mobile medical units to more than 38 villages marooned by the cyclone in Balasore and Mayurbhanj and provided more than 10,500 critically-needed primary healthcare consultations. Working through local partners, International Medical Corps also distributed hygiene kits that included sanitary and non-food items, such as soap, laundry detergent, mosquito nets and water containers, in local communities to thwart the spread of communicable disease.

True to its mission, International Medical Corps’ teams also identified medium- and long-term needs to rebuild self-reliance, supporting communities’ efforts to recover and providing them with the tools they need to be their own, best First Responders.  These needs include training in water, sanitation and hygiene activities; capacity-building support to improve water purification techniques; and infrastructure improvements to water sources, such as raising platforms for hand pumps to prevent future contamination from flooding. 

Supporting Local Programs: In support of the Government of Odisha’s nutrition program that targets children and mothers, International Medical Corps provided information, education and communication materials to the Balasore District Welfare Office as much of their educational materials were damaged in the floods. International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response team provided more than 500 informational posters on the importance of breastfeeding; information about providing vaccinations for newborns; and monitoring the weight and nutrition of children.  These materials are being disseminated to government-supported nutrition centers all over the Balasore district.

 

International Medical Corps is Building Capacity for the Future in India:

Working with its local partner, Unnayan, International Medical Corps is currently focusing efforts on reducing future disaster risks, specifically related to the water supply and the links between hygiene and health. Using a comprehensive approach that includes rehabilitation of water sources, construction of hygiene facilities, stockpiling and dissemination of hygiene supplies, and hygiene education and promotion, International Medical Corps and Unnayan are working to ensure that families and communities are prepared to protect water sources and thwart the spread of communicable diseases before and after a disaster strikes.

Improving Infrastructure: A wide-spread challenge during the disaster in Odisha was the submersion of hand pumps. Due to flooding, water accessed through hand pumps was contaminated; in other areas, flood waters compromised access to clean water. To mitigate this issue, International Medical Corps and Unnayan is constructing elevated platforms to raise the height of hand pumps in eight villages, which will prevent the submersion of hand pumps in times of flooding in the future. Additionally, teams are helping families chlorinate water from private household hand pumps to ensure the safety of water being used.

Investing in the Future Through Education: International Medical Corps and Unnayan are also implementing an awareness campaign focused on safe water, sanitation and hygiene practices at the individual household level, community level, and in ten schools. International Medical Corps and Unnayan have already delivered these key messages to 140 children at two upper primary schools in Balasore district, and the awareness campaign will be provided to eight more schools, reaching children from primary to high school age. International Medical Corps is also providing professional development and training to community healthcare workers and hygiene promoters in India; training is focused on best practices in providing community-based education on women’s personal hygiene; safety processes for drinking, storing, and handling water; use of latrines; and the hazards associated with unhygienic behavior such as not washing hands.

Improvements that Respect People and the Environment: Further, consultations with villagers that took place in November revealed the need for longer-term solutions to hygiene needs and challenges, especially for girls and women. In response to these concerns, International Medical Corps is supporting the construction of bathing cubicles in eight villages in Balasore District, which will be connected to the elevated platforms of hand pumps and will allow girls and women to have a private area to bathe, thereby preserving their dignity. The use of soaps and washing detergents will be localized within the cubicles, with little runoff, thus also reducing the environmental impact and protecting local rivers and other natural water sources from the effects of contaminants.

 

Conclusion:

In the weeks following Cyclone Phailin, International Medical Corps transitioned from emergency response primary health care services activities to restoring capacity and building self-reliance in storm-ravaged areas by developing solutions to mitigate destruction from future storms, helping local communities to become their own, best First Responders. While no area is immune to the damage that can be unleashed by a storm of Cyclone Phailin’s magnitude, families and communities can be equipped with the tools and knowledge in areas such as water, sanitation and hygience to prepare for future emergencies and recover more quickly.

 Displaced people in temporary road-side camps
Displaced people in temporary road-side camps
International Medical Corps Mobile Medical Unit
International Medical Corps Mobile Medical Unit
International Medical Corps doctor examining child
International Medical Corps doctor examining child
Submerged hand pump
Submerged hand pump
Elevated hand pump under construction
Elevated hand pump under construction
People receiving hygiene kits
People receiving hygiene kits

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Project Leader

Erica Tavares

Director, Resource Development
Santa Monica, CA United States

Where is this project located?