We have just had our first contact from the project area and the message from Ranjit Swain, Director of CHALE CHALO, our Odisha partner, reads as follows:

“MANGRO Centre is safe now. The cyclone’s centre was Ganjam / Barahampur (where you and Kim visited Gram Vikash).  We had shifted all the valuable items and files/documents, etc., to the neighbour’s building. The wind speed was 120 – 130 kmph and the plants have been damaged. There were heavy rains, and water all around the centre.   Bhubaneswar was not so much affected.  But wind of 120 kmph uprooted trees and electricity poles both in Rajnagar (project area) and Bhubaneswar. In BBSR the power cut was from 12th morning till this time and in Rajnagar will take more than 10 days due to damage and stealing of wire and poles, etc.   There has been sea surge in some places and floods and damage to thatched houses nearer to sea in other parts of Rajnagar.

“Now floods are coming in all the major rivers and still there are rains in catchment areas of major dams like Hirakud and Rengali etc.   21 districts have been affected and more than 80 lakhs people (8 million) are suffering due to the cyclone and all are worried about the impending floods.   We have been suffering a lot due to power cut and water shortage and people in interior area are in serious condition due to lack of food and other basic necessities.

“Thank you very much for your best wishes for us. “

So we are all very relieved to hear that the staff are fine, and our new Eco-friendly Centre has survived.  Our concern is now for local villagers whose homes have been destroyed by the wind, and who will have lost their crops and livestock to the floodwaters which will be lying on the land for days to come, weeks even in some places.  I will post further news as we get it, and thank everyone for their messages of support which have been passed on to Ranjit and his team.

Helena Nightingale


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