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| Last Updated:28/02/2014

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NGOs continue relief work in cyclone-hit areas

The Hindu, 28 February 2014


GDRF plans to build 13,000 toilets


BERHAMPUR: Forty-four NGOs of Ganjam district which had formed Ganjam Disaster Response Forum (GDRF) after Phalin cyclone last year are continuing with their efforts to assist the administration to make this natural calamity prone area disaster resilient in future. The devastating Phailin cyclone and the floods following it was the catalyst behind this unity among the NGOs active in Ganjam district and formation of the GDRF. Till now they are involved in post-Phailin restoration work and capacity building of rural inhabitants to face calamities in future.


The GDRF had felt sanitation was a major issue during any natural calamity and after it. It was found that rural sanitation was in doldrums in several rural pockets of the district. Outdoor defecation was a major threat to health of inhabitants in case of rains or floods. Under a UNICEF supported project after the Phailin cyclone, the GDRF had taken up water and sanitation assessment in 141 villages of the district. Basing on this report with assistance of the district administration, the GDRF has taken up the mantle to completely stop open defecation in 76 villages of 44 panchayats in the district. They plan to build 13,000 toilets within next few months in these villages to end open defecation. They have already started targeted awareness drive among people for it, informed convenor of GDRF, Lokanath Mishra. Apart from it, these NGOs have also got involved in improvement of sanitation and health in marine fishermen villages in 26 panchayats of five coastal blocks of Ganjam district, which were worst affected by Phailin.


The GDRF has also identified 1,000 green volunteers from all parts of the district, who would be used for major plantation work once the rains start. It is aimed at reviving the natural environment of the district, which had been totally devastated by the cyclone.


The foundation of the GDRF got laid a few days before Phailin cyclone-hit Ganjam coast. When warning for the Phailin came in, 15 NGOs of Ganjam district got together on October 10 and extended their support to the administration in evacuation and other services as part of cyclone preparedness.


They helped the administration and police in the evacuation process by creating awareness among people living in devastation prone coastal areas. After the Phailin cyclone, they on their own started distributing relief material in the areas where they had their presence.


On October 19, the district administration also recognised the importance of participation of these NGOs in the relief and restoration process and an inter-agency coordination group was formed.


It led to the coming together of 44 NGOs of the district for the formation of the GDRF, said co-convenor of GDRF Mangaraj Panda. During the relief distribution process, the GDRF had helped in bringing in transparency in relief distribution process and eradication of duplication.


Till January they had continued relief work although as per direction of the administration they were not involved in distribution of any food material. Through support of donor agencies, these NGOs continued to distribute non-food item kits to the needy which included shelter related kit, hygiene related kit, kitchen kit and drinking water storage kit.


Two major donors, DFID and European Commission provided financial support for this.


Ganjam Disaster Response Forum formed by 44 NGOs plans to build 13,000 toilets to end open defecation