International Medical Corps' Emergency Response Team is on the ground in India following Cyclone Phailin, a powerful cyclone that struck the country's east coast on October 12. International Medical Corps' emergency response doctors are on the ground, determining the needs of the more than 8 million people affected by this storm. The Indian government's preparation saved countless lives, but survivors now need emergency medical care and non-food items like tents and water purification equipment.
Approximately one million people in Odisha state and Andhra Pradesh took shelter after authorities issued warnings, and conducted evacuations which minimized the loss of life. However, an estimated 230,000 homes were damaged, 2,000 square miles of crops were washed away, and livelihoods were destroyed. India's disaster response teams will need help during relief operations, as early reports indicate health centers were damaged and may not be equipped to deliver care to the returning evacuees.
International Medical Corps doctors are on the ground now and traveling to the region. As First Responders to numerous disasters, we know that critical healthcare, nutrition, sanitation and clean water are needed. During past interventions we delivered critical medicines, supplies, and equipment; fed evacuees via food distributions; built latrines; and provided clean water. We also delivered health care through mobile medical units. That's just the beginning of the needs of displaced families.
Over the long-term, we anticipate that sanitation and nutrition services will be critical as India rebuilds. International Medical Corps' mission is to return communities to self-reliance after a disaster, so we will work to deliver services and build local capacity to address long-term challenges. We will also ensure that displaced families have access to healthcare, nutrition, clean water, and psychosocial support - so they can stay healthy while they rebuild.