In May, while India was struggling with Coronavirus and its deadly impact, super cyclone Amphan ravaged the coastal areas of West Bengal. Lakhs (100,000’s) of people were left homeless without food. Livelihoods were snatched away as cattle and crops were destroyed.
Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC) has supported the marginalised and migrant sections of Kolkata society for over two decades. Currently, it supports districts in Kolkata, West Bengal and Nawada in Bihar state.
Cyclone Amphan left significant destruction in Kolkata and other areas. The roofs of centres and schools were scattered and destroyed. Incessant rains, power failures, and waterlogged streets and fields characterised the ill-fated event.
The Cyclone Response team of KMWSC continues to provide food packages in the village of Pathan Khali and surrounding areas, to stranded migrants of the brickfields and to the slum and red-light areas of Kolkata.
On Sagar Island, anxious starving children, women and older people waited for help. Amphan had ravaged their lives. In the village women from the tribal community broke into tears and cried out…
“Why does God put us through so much pain? He could simply kill us.”
Their houses crumbled on the night of the deadly cyclone. Most were clad in tattered sarees, the only piece of cloth they had. Many of the men only wore a “Gamchha”, a local towel. Some children had nothing to wear at all. There were hardly any grains left in the remains to sustain them.
In the words of Parbati Bhakta* a Lodha tribal mother of 2 children, “My house has been completely destroyed by the cyclone. I have been sleeping under the stars ever since. I am thankful to KMWSC for arranging shelter for my children and myself and for supporting us through food and other aids.”
Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre sends sincere gratitude to donors and well-wishers for extending their support which has enabled us to stand with the Amphan affected victims during their time of crisis.
* Name changed to protect identity, privacy and safety.
Author: Michelle Gale
Feature Image: Mud huts repaired and families assisted, recovering from the impact of cyclone Amphan, India