At Least 350,000 Children in India at Direct Risk in Face of Cyclone Fani

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (May 2, 2019) – Cyclone Fani, which is expected to make landfall in the eastern states of India, is putting 800,000 people directly at risk, including 350,000 children, Save the Children is warning. Heavy rains, flash floods and landslides are possible in both in coastal and urban areas.

The cyclone has been strengthening in the Bay of Bengal, which is known as the Bay of Storms, and is expected to make landfall on Friday in the states Andrha Pradesh and Odisha. Winds of up to 125mph and heavy rains are threatening homes, schools and livelihoods. 

The Government of India has started evacuating nearly one million people, bringing them to safer areas or cyclone shelters.

Save the Children has a team of specialists travelling to Odisha ahead of Cyclone Fani making landfall, to be on the ground when the storm hits and to assess the needs as soon as possible. Save the Children has shelter, household and school materials ready for distribution. 

Save the Children has been working in India since the 1960s and has been responding to natural disasters for decades. Over the past four years, Save the Children has set up 80 youth response teams with 2000 youth members and 1200 younger children in 80 villages in Andhra Pradesh, to make sure communities are prepared for natural disasters, working in close cooperation with the government.

“This area is prone to cyclones, we have almost one every other year,” said Vikas Gora, Save the Children’s General Manager for Southern India. “Save the Children has been helping communities to prepare by training warning groups and rescue groups. We have trained around 3200 youth to help their communities get through storms like this.

“We have been stocking the villages with emergency equipment, sirens, stoves and rice. We’ve also provided computers and radios that run on solar panels, since electricity is often the first casualty of a storm. That way, communities get real time warnings and information, and they are able to share information with the government and the information goes both ways.”

In Odisha, Save the Children works in 200 schools and 300 governmental preschools to help educate children on disaster preparedness and child protection.

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