Cyclone Phailin: Focus shifts to relief and recovery in the wake of Indian superstorm

A destructive storm — equivalent to the size of Hurricane Katrina — made landfall October 12 on India’s eastern coast. World Vision has activated an emergency response.

By Theodore Sam, Kathryn Reid, and Lauren Fisher
Updated October 17, 2013 at 05:15am PDT

Relief and recovery efforts have been initiated in India’s coastal communities following destruction caused by Cyclone Phailin, the worst storm to hit India in 14 years.

World Vision activates response

World Vision’s immediate response is targeting three of its development program areas, as well as communities that were hit hard by the storm.

“Our initial response will be food, water, and Child-Friendly Spaces,” says Kunal Shah, World Vision’s head of emergency affairs in India.

“World Vision is committed to both providing for the immediate needs of the people and helping them back to a sense of normalcy,” Shah explains. “We will commit to ensure focus on children, women, and the disabled wherever we work.”

Additionally, during the emergency phase, World Vision will distribute non-food items to families affected by the cyclone. Temporary shelters will be critical as the monsoon and winter season is fast approaching.

Some 6,000 pre-positioned relief kits, ready for immediate deployment, include:

  • Bed nets
  • Plastic mats
  • Cotton bed sheets
  • Tarpaulin
  • Cooking utensils and plates
  • A bucket

During the rehabilitation phase, we will focus will on restoring livelihood, clean water and sanitation, education (including rebuilding of schools), and housing.

Successful evacuation prevents major loss of life

Authorities credited the successful evacuation of more than 900,000 coastal dwellers with preventing more loss of life. However, the national disaster agency reports more than 230,000 houses damaged or destroyed and millions of dollars of losses of standing crops.

No loss of life has been reported within World Vision development program areas thus far.

Cyclone Phailin made landfall near Gopalpur, India, on October 12 at 9 p.m. local time, bringing winds of 140 mph and torrential rain along 250 miles of coastline.

Community leaders activated disaster preparedness plans and coordinated with government disaster management teams.

Local disaster preparedness critical

World Vision has been working for several years with vulnerable communities in India to help them better prepare for severe weather events. With the organization’s help, communities prepare plans for what they will do when a disaster strikes.

Families with livestock or crops have also received training to take immediate action and protect their livelihoods from the storm.

The last storm of Phailin’s magnitude to hit India was the 1999 Odisha cyclone, which killed more than 10,000 people and caused $4.5 billion in damages.

Help now

Please pray for the millions of people affected by this destructive storm. Pray, too, for relief workers as they come alongside communities to begin the recovery and rebuilding process.

Make a one-time donation to help provide relief to children and families impacted by Cyclone Phailin. Your gift will help us respond with life-saving assistance, as well as recovery and rebuilding support, in the aftermath of this devastating storm.


  • Cyclone Phailin made landfall on the evening of October 12.
  • World Vision has begun relief and recovery efforts to assist affected children and families.
  • Immediate response activities will focus on the provision of food, water, Child-Friendly Spaces, and temporary shelter.
  • The rehabilitation phase will focus on the restoration of livelihood, clean water and sanitation, education, and housing.

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