Home Environment Cyclone Ampha...

Cyclone Amphan Causes Havoc: Sewa International Releases $10,000 in First Tranche of Disaster Relief

Super Cyclone Amphan began forming on May 16 and dissipated on May 21

0
Kolkata_after_Amphan
Cyclone Amphan has caused widespread damage to infrastructure in the coastal states of Odisha and West Bengal. Wikimedia Commons

Sewa International announced the first tranche of $10,000 toward rescue and relief operations as Super Cyclone Amphan devastated vast stretches of two states in India – Odisha and West Bengal.

Amphan, which began forming on May 16 and dissipated today, May 21, has caused widespread damage to infrastructure in the coastal states of Odisha and West Bengal as it moved inland with 105 mph winds, heavy sea surge, and massive rain. Boats, agricultural crops, and houses have been destroyed, electricity poles and trees uprooted, and vast stretches of agricultural land, villages, and towns have become inundated. Amphan was, according to NASA estimates, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Causing widespread damage over the Eastern parts of India and Bangladesh Amphan is the strongest cyclone to strike the Ganges Delta since 2007 and the first super cyclonic storm to occur in the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 Odisha cyclone. It has claimed 72 lives in India as of today. Adding to the challenges facing rescue and relief efforts is the current pandemic where these affected areas are developing into COVID-19 hotspots.

“Sewa International with on the ground partners/volunteers is committed to providing all support to the affected people in this hour of need,” said Swadesh Katoch, VP of Disaster Recovery, Sewa International. “We have partnered with relief organizations in India over the past two decades, and our people are already in the area working on rescue and relief operations. There is an urgent need of tarpaulins, packed food, utensils, seasonal clothing, first-aid kits, toiletries, flashlights, water bottles, mosquito mats/nets, backpacks, etc., and we will do our best to supply them in the coming days. I urge people to donate generously to Sewa so that we can provide the necessary support in this time of need,” Mr. Katoch urged.

Kolkata_after_Amphan_01
Amphan was, according to NASA estimates, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Wikimedia Commons

 About Sewa International

Sewa International, a leading Indian American nonprofit organization, has extensive experience in disaster rescue, relief, and rehabilitation operations having responded to 24 disasters in the US and abroad. In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, Sewa volunteers helped in the rescue of nearly 700 people, and have served thousands of affected families since then through their case management service. Sewa raised over $3 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery, Sewa continues to rebuild houses, and, greenhouses that serve as a means of livelihood. Sewa International has also rendered relief in the wake of hurricane Maria in 2018 and Hurricane Imelda in 2019. Sewa teams in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to build and donate tiny homes for those rendered homeless in California Camp Fire of November 2018.

Also Read: Masks Worn During Pandemic Should be Washed Regularly

Among its other accolades, Sewa International has been recognized by Charity Navigator – the premier nonprofit rating agency – as the number five among the “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.” Sewa has for the last three years continuously scored the topmost-rated 4-star from Charity Navigator, and has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency.

Next Story

Here’s how Climate Change Has Affected Livelihood in Africa

Inescapable Effects of Climate Change Jeopardize Livelihoods Across East Africa

0
Africa Climate crisis
People cross a bridge broken by heavy rains that caused landslides, in the village of Sebit, West Pokot County, Kenya, Africa. VOA

By Rael Ombuor

As the Earth heats up, weather and climate patterns are changing dramatically around the globe. Africa felt the effects of those changes in 2019, experiencing cyclones, droughts and unstoppable rains that jeopardized livelihoods.

Sixty-two-year-old David Kemboi sorts out dry maize stalks on his 21-hectare farm in Kenya’s Trans Nzoia County.

He turns the stalks of what could have been a bountiful harvest into silage — for feeding his 15 herd of cattle.

He said the heavy rains that have rocked different parts of Eastern Africa cause the crops to fail.

“At the time of growing crops we expected optimum yields, we had invested heavily on all the crops that we grew, but unfortunately, we were not able to get a good harvest out of all that, which means a lot of money was just thrown to the dogs.  We didn’t get anything out of that and we do not expect to get anything elsewhere other than from this land because we depend on rain-fed agriculture,” he said.

Trans Nzoia county where Kemboi settled after retirement in 2017 is known for growing predominantly maize, Kenya’s staple food.

Apart from the excessive rain, farmers in the area have faced pests and disease challenges.

“Every time we go to harvest the maize, there is rain and when it gets wet, it gets spoiled very quickly. That one has had adverse effects in growing of maize and also in beans. Beans, the first crop we didn’t have any harvest at all. It all went bad because of these heavy rains,” said Kemboi.

Widespread flooding

Millions of people have been displaced as a result of widespread flooding this year across large parts of Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The floods have led to hundreds of deaths. In November, South Sudan declared a state of emergency in 27 affected areas with close to a million people affected.

The Kenya Meteorological Department attributes the rains to an irregularity known as Indian Ocean dipole, an oscillation of surface temperature of the sea, which brings weather extremes to countries neighboring the Indian Ocean.

Benard Chanzu is the deputy director of Kenya’s Meteorological services.  He said nearly all of Kenya has received above-average rainfall this year.

KENYA-WEATHER-Africa
People stand on debris blocking a highway after River Muruny burst its bank following heavy rains in Parua village, about 85 km northeast of Kitale, in West Pokot county, western Kenya, Africa. VOA

“In some stations, I can quote like Meru stations, we have seen records which are showing that what has been received is more than 200 percent of the long term average, that is what is usually received in the area,” said Chanzu.

More extreme weather ahead

With levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climbing to new highs, Dr. John Recha, a scientist specializing in climate and agriculture research, said Africans can expect more extremes in years to come.

“We will therefore have more effects of climate change affecting the weather patterns specifically the rainfall patterns, climate change will be more intense and therefore the climate variability that is having these extreme events of the droughts and the floods will be more frequent and more intense going into the future,” he said.

Also Read- Southeast Asian Activists Pressurize Regional Govts to Offer Climate Action Plan

The solution for Kemboi and other farmers, according to experts like Recha, lies on adapting to climate change.

That, he said, would require help from government and agencies to implement new agricultural practices such as alternative irrigation methods and efficient water storage for farmers. (VOA)

Next Story

WFP: Nearly 2 Million Mozambique Cyclone Survivors Face Imminent Food Shortage

The impact of these two disasters lingers on, threatening widespread hunger among survivors of these twin disasters

0
food shortages
Survivors of Cyclone Idai wait in an abandoned and derelict building near Nhamatanda, about 50 kilometers from Beira, in Mozambique, March, 22, 2019. VOA

The World Food Program warns 1.9 million Mozambicans battered by two devastating cyclones earlier this year are at risk of severe food shortages without urgent international assistance.

Hundreds of people were killed, tens of thousands made homeless and livelihoods lost when Cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit Mozambique with devastating force in March and April. The destructive power of the two storms has wreaked havoc on the country’s infrastructure and agriculture.

Many crops that were about to be harvested and farm infrastructure were destroyed.  The impact of these two disasters lingers on, threatening widespread hunger among survivors of these twin disasters.

food shortages
A man waits to receive food aid outside a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Dombe, Mozambique, April 4, 2019. VOA

World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel says more than 1.6 million people are suffering from acute food insecurity and the worst is yet to come.

“It is expected that the upcoming lean season it will be very difficult in Mozambique with just below 2 million people projected to be in crisis situation if there is no humanitarian intervention before,” Verhoosel said. “The lean season is the period from October this year until the next harvest season in March 2020.”

ALSO READ: Florida: American Crocodiles, Once Headed Towards Extinction, Thriving Outside Nuclear Plant

Verhoosel says WFP is planning to assist more than 560,000 people every month through October in both cyclone and drought affected areas.  He says his agency hopes to scale up its humanitarian operation when the lean season kicks in in October.

If the money is available, he says WFP will provide food rations to one-and-one quarter million people every month until March when the next harvest season begins.  He says WFP will need slightly more than $100 million to implement its recovery plan over the next six months. (VOA)

Next Story

Heavy Drenching in Bengal, Cyclone Fani Strongest Storm in Decades

"The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening"

0
Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours. Pixabay

Cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian subcontinent in decades, uprooted trees and triggered rains as it entered West Bengal post midnight on Saturday, hours after making landfall and causing havoc in Odisha on Friday.

No loss of life or any injury has been reported so far.

According to the Meteorological department, the extremely severe cyclonic storm relatively weakened after entering coastal Odisha and transformed into “very severe” as it approached Bengal.

beach
In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph. Pixabay

“The severe cyclonic storm Fani entered Bengal at 12.30 a.m. through Odisha’s Balasore. It crossed Kharagpur packing a wind of 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph,” Regional Meteorological Centre’s Deputy Director General Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, said.

The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata.

“It is likely to continue further in north, north east direction, and reach the east Burdwan-Hooghly border, and through Nadia go to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, weakening into a cyclonic storm, after having triggered rains,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Fani lashed cities and towns in coastal Bengal including Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Sandehskhali and Contai while the effects of the storm could also be felt in cities like Kharagpur and Burdwan as trees were uprooted and metal hoardings gave way.

Parts of Kolkata and the suburbs also received moderate to heavy rainfall since Friday afternoon.

The epicentre of the storm is expected to hit the city in the early hours on Saturday.

cyclone
The storm is now lying close to Arambagh in Hooghly district, and is 40 km west of Kolkata. Pixabay

The rains would continue till early Saturday.

In the sea resort of Digha, the win speed reached 70 kmph in some areas, in Frazerganj the wind velocity was between 60 and 70 kmph.

Kharagpur has so far recorded 95 mm rainfall, which will continue for the next two to three hours.

Also Read: Why People Love to Have Coffee or Beer in Summer: Decoded

“The rains will continue till early morning on Saturday, and the weather will start improving by evening,” he said.

The administration has switched off electricity to prevent any accident as the storm passed through a particular point in the state. (IANS)