Salesians Assist Victims, Prepare for Long-Term Recovery after Cyclone Strikes Southeast India

Share Article

In response to the devastation caused by the recent cyclone that struck southeast India, Salesians in the region plan to create a Disaster Management Endowment Fund as well as launch a farmers’ association to aid in agricultural recovery efforts.

News Image
“We are resilient here in southeast India,” says Fr. Antonysamy. “Together with the people we serve, we will build a better future.”

In response to the devastation caused by the recent cyclone that struck southeast India, Salesians in the region plan to create a Disaster Management Endowment Fund as well as launch a farmers’ association to aid in agricultural recovery efforts.

The Salesians’ work will go far beyond the immediate relief that was needed in the days following Cyclone Thane. The disaster will have long-term effects on the economy of the region, as entire communities must rebuild. In addition to restoring their social development and education programs in operation prior to the cyclone, the Salesians must now rebuild their own missions and lead community recovery efforts.

“Beyond these immediate needs, we must offer mid- and long-term assistance,” says Father Johnson Antonysamy, director of the Salesian mission in Chennai. “We are facing a years-long process of reconstruction.”

Infrastructure support is just one area of need. To restore the standard of living, the Salesians plan to create a Disaster Management Endowment Fund to help underwrite the costs of rebuilding roads, restoring electricity and other long-term needs. For those displaced, houses that once had thatch roofs must be rebuilt with stronger materials to better withstand extremes in weather.

In addition, farms essential to the livelihood of their owners have been devastated. In some villages, almost 80 percent of some long standing crops – such as rice, corn, sugarcane, and bananas – have been destroyed. According to Fr. Antonysamy, some estimate it may take seven years for farmers to recover and rebuild these crops. In some villages, entire cashew groves were destroyed with not even a single cashew tree left standing. Estimates indicate it will take years to re-grow these groves, Antonysamy adds. The Salesians are launching a farmers’ association to aid in agricultural recovery efforts, including options for financial assistance.

Given their long-standing educational work in these communities, the Salesians hope to help residents not only envision a sustainable future, but to participate in building it.

“We are resilient here in southeast India,” says Fr. Antonysamy. “Together with the people we serve, we will build a better future.”

On the evening of Dec. 31, 2011, Cyclone Thane barreled through the districts of Cuddalore, Villupuram and Puducherry. In its wake, residents dealt with leveled homes and uprooted trees; flooded farmlands that destroyed precious crops; and the death of dozens of men, women and children.

People were without food, water, electricity and shelter. Those with thatched roofs had their roofs blown off and more than 20,000 people were displaced. Destruction to Salesian property in Puducherry, Cuddalore and the missions in Gedilam and Maranodi Vinnarasi resulted in shattered windows, sheared off roofs, destroyed water heaters, and ruined equipment in several vocational centers. But despite their own losses, the Salesians stepped in during the immediate aftermath and provided shelter in their missions, meals, clean water, clothing and comfort to those affected by the devastation.

Salesian Missions – the U.S. development arm of the international Salesians of Don Bosco – has set up a fund to assist in the relief and rebuilding efforts. To give, go to SalesianMissions.org, click on “Donate Now” and select “India Cyclone Relief Fund.”

ABOUT SALESIAN MISSIONS:

Salesian Missions is headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, and is part of the Don Bosco Network—a worldwide federation of Salesian NGOs. The mission of the U.S.-based nonprofit Catholic organization is to raise funds for international programs that serve youth and families in poor communities around the globe. The Salesian missionaries are made up of priests, brothers and sisters, as well as laypeople—all dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries and helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion. For more information, go to http://www.SalesianMissions.org.

For more news like this, go to MissionNewswire.org.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website