New Delhi, 24 May 2019 – In response to cyclone Fani, which wreaked havoc across large parts of India’s eastern coast in early May, the European Union is allocating 15.5 million INR (EUR 200 000) to provide emergency assistance to the most affected communities. The aid will directly benefit 25 000 people in the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Priority will be given to Odisha’s districts of Cuttack, Puri, and Bhubaneswar, which were amongst the hardest-hit localities.
The EU funding supports the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) in delivering life-saving support to the most vulnerable families. This includes the distribution of emergency shelter material and relief items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, blankets, kitchen sets, buckets and clothing. In addition, technical support will be provided on improved shelter design and building techniques, thereby reinforcing the safety of affected families and contributing to the longer-term recovery effort. In order to reduce the risk to public health in the aftermath of the storm, epidemic prevention and control activities will also be carried out. Special attention is being paid to people with high vulnerabilities such as those with disabilities and marginalised groups.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
At least 60 people were killed and more than 2.4 million others were affected when cyclone Fani, considered the most powerful cyclone to hit the coastal state of Odisha in 20 years, made landfall as a category 4 hurricane near Puri district on 3rd May. Bringing torrential downpours and strong wind gusts of more than 175 kilometres per hour, the cyclonic system flattened thousands of homes and caused widespread damage to public infrastructure and agricultural lands in Odisha and, to a lesser extent, in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. According to government data, over 500 000 houses sustained damage in Odisha alone, forcing more than 1.1 million people to seek shelter in over 6,500 relief camps across the state.
The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.
The European Commission has signed a EUR 3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of EUR 3 million.
For further information, please contact:
Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu