India Aid Workers Struggle to Help Cyclone Victims
A tornado that ripped through part of India last week killed at least 131 people and made any attempt of aid a real trying task.
Aid and rescue workers had to make their way through uprooted trees and downed power lines blocking roads to provide food and shelter to the hundreds of thousands of victims left homeless by the storm. In West Bengal state alone, at least 250,000 people became homeless, thanks to the cyclone. Srikumar Mukherji, minister for civil defense of West Bengal, stated:
“We are facing a crisis in the relief operation. There is a shortage of manpower to distribute rice and medical aid among the victims.”
Along with the tally of the dead and homeless, thousands of cattle were killed (including 10,000 in Bihar state) and summer crops were destroyed. The roof of every home in Rampur village had either collapsed or been blown away. At least 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the state of Bihar. Ratan Burman, a 45-year-old farmer, described his experience:
“The thatched roof fell on our head and then after 2 minutes the entire house fell on us.” … “I managed to get out and pull my 2 sons out, but I was unable to save my wife.”
The storm, which was reported to have “the shape of an elephant trunk,” came during unseasonably high temperatures across much of northern India. You can check out another video of the tornado here.
By Heidi Marshall