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Phailin: Odisha government fails to give aid; people starve, beg

Oct 24, 2013 05:45 PM IST India India
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Ganjam: Several people lost their livelihood after cyclone Phailin wreaked havoc in the coastal areas of Odisha, but their ordeal isn't over yet as the government aid has still not reached all the storm affected victims. The people say they were even forced to beg as the government didn't come to their rescue.

62-year-old Kamama and her ailing husband returned two days after Phailin struck Ganjam district and found their house completely destroyed.

Kamama said, "I am thankful to the government that they saved me and my husband in time, but now we have nothing to eat from last 10 days."

Kamama is a fisherwoman and her fishing nets and boats were also destroyed in the cylone. With no family and no social security, government relief is the only hope of survival for her.

Another fisherman, Jaga Rao from Markandi village said, "All the people in this village are poor and all are badly hit by cyclone. We all are hungry and suffering, so why is the government not giving relief to all the villagers together. There is lot of discontent due to this."

The logistics of reaching relief packets to one million families is mind-boggling. Each packet contains 50 kg rice, Rs 500 cash for dal, 4 litres kerosene and a polythene sheet.

Seeing Kamamma's plight, a CNN-IBN correspondant gave her Rs 500 and told her story to Ganjam Distric Collector Krishan Kumar.

"Immediately after the relief is provided within 10 days to the entire population of the district, we will then take up the rehabilitation and livelihood issues. We would immediately provide livelihood to all under the NREGA," said Krishan Kumar.

It's people like Kamama who bear the burnt of the cyclone the most. For them it's not just the loss of their house but their entire livelihood and if the government does not provide them help in time, then they might soon be pushed to starvation.