By Sarah Marzouk
Cyclone Phailin, which crashed into the eastern coast of India last weekend, has moved inland, bringing with it more heavy rains and destruction.
Huge quantities of rain have been battering Bihar state, where around 5 million people live along the banks of the Koshi and Gandak rivers.
(c) REUTERS/Ahmad Masood. Courtesy Trust.org
Estimates suggest that up to 12 million have already been affected by the cyclone. 2013 UN population data also estimates that 16.7% of India's population are aged 50 or over. Based on these figures therefore, two million of those affected could be older men and women.
Responding to cyclone Phailin
Our sister organisation, HelpAge India is now responding to the disaster by deploying mobile medical units to older people affected. They are carrying out needs assessments, liaising with the state and district authorities to determine the most urgent needs of people hit by the cyclone.
However, the continued rains are causing huge damage in Bihar, destroying people's crops, livestock fodder and houses. Affected families are sheltering with neighbours, in local community centres, schools and other public buildings.
Severe power cuts and disruptions to communications systems is making contact with those affected very difficult. However HelpAge India field staff have spoken to one of their volunteers who reported that over 40 homes have been destroyed in his village, which stands on the banks of the Koshi river.
HelpAge India and Elder Self Help Group (ESHG) Federations have taken preliminary disaster management measures, including:
- setting up fodder banks to manage the scarcity of fodder,
- providing grain and rice to those affected,
- arranging temporary accommodation at higher altitude for vulnerable older people.
In the UK
Our UK sister organisation, Age International, has launched an emergency appeal.
Outside of the UK
Our sister organisation in India, HelpAge India, is responding to the cyclone.