In the aftermath of Cyclone Fani, while help has been pouring in from all quarters for Odisha, quite a few regions in its interiors are still reeling under the trail of destruction the cyclone has left behind. In an effort to expedite help to such regions and its communities, a group of five youths from Mumbai conducted an on-ground relief work between 15th and 18th June 2019. As part of the outreach program, Dhruv Mehta (12 years) along with Raahil Mehta (14 years), Manit Shah (16 years), Latisha Shah (23 years) and Yash Mehta (23 years) visited and conducted relief work in the tribal communities of Mayurbhanj. The activity was organized by ‘Living To Change’ and ‘Mayurbhanj Foundation’, and received support from a local entrepreneur – Akshita Bhanjdeo, Director of The Belgadia Palace in Mayurbhanj.
“Mayurbhanj is thick forest land that is home to a hundred different tribal communities. While cyclone Fani’s maximum damage is along Odisha’s coastal belt, its interiors too have been affected. In Mayurbhanj the roofs of many houses have completely come off and others are partly broken. The tribal people in the region make meagre earnings and spending it on repairing damages is beyond their means. Additionally, with the oncoming monsoons, the need for adequate sanitation facilities becomes all the more necessary to safeguard their health. During the four day program our focus was to provide as much aid as possible to cover the community’s immediate and basic needs; and to provision for food and sanitation utilities that can cover them for an extended duration of time,” says Manit Shah.
The team also focused on providing aid to communities of lepers, orphans and differently abled women by donating clothes, dental and sanitary kits, school bags and stationary. They also conducted hygiene workshops and provided monetary assistance for rebuilding infrastructure and food.
“The devastation caused by this calamity and the suffering it has brought to the people is distressing. While we cannot undo the loss, we wish to try and do our best to help mitigate the prevailing situation to gradually bring it back to normalcy. We are thankful to Mayurbanj Foundation, Living to Change and to Akshita Bhanjdeo who helped and guided us in our effort to reach out to the affected communities,” concludes Latisha Shah.