CBM India’s Relief and Risk Preparedness Initiatives for Cyclone Remal in West Bengal

CBM India's Relief and Risk Preparedness Initiatives for Cyclone Remal in West Bengal India, West Bengal, June 25th, 2024: In the wake of Cyclone Remal’s devastating impact, CBM India Trust, a leading organization dedicated to disability-inclusive development, has organized the distribution of relief food aid to 1,000 households in the Pathar Pratima and Namkhana blocks of the South 24 Parganas district in the Sundarbans region of West Bengal. The cyclone left a trail of destruction across Bangladesh, West Bengal, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, and Meghalaya, affecting some communities where CBM India has been actively involved for years.

CBM India’s immediate concern is the well-being of these communities. The teams on the ground have been closely assessing the damage and preparing to provide the necessary support. Over the years, CBM India has been working across various disaster-prone areas in India, including the South 24 Parganas district, to build resilience in the face of natural disasters and to ensure the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response programs.

“The increasing frequency of extreme weather events like Cyclone Remal underscores the urgent need for disaster risk preparedness, especially for those already vulnerable due to factors like geography, gender, poverty, and disability. Our focus goes beyond short-term relief; we are committed to empowering communities to anticipate and respond to emergencies, thereby mitigating the impact of future events,” said Mr. Sony Thomas, Executive Director, CBM India Trust.

As part of CBM India’s commitment to mitigating and reducing risks, inclusive Village Disaster Management Committees were formed and strengthened to reduce losses. These committees, divided into Task Force Groups, were trained in first aid, rescue operations, early warning, relief camps and shelter management, and WASH. Each group received emergency equipment such as life jackets, lifebuoys, rescue ladders, wheelchairs, generators, megaphones, and helmets. CBM India also conducted community mapping exercises with the Village Disaster Management Committees to understand risk zones, resources, and the social context of the villages, facilitating future preparedness plans.

In the Sundarbans communities where CBM India works, the community’s Task Force Groups formed and trained through their programs played a key role during Cyclone Remal. Thanks to enhanced preparedness and coordinated efforts of the government and local authorities, the community’s Task Force Groups swiftly evacuated residents and livestock to safe areas, resulting in zero reported loss of life in the communities CBM India partners with.

“We are immensely proud of the community’s resilience and preparedness. The swift and coordinated response during Cyclone Remal is a powerful success story for our disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction programs,” added Mr. Sony Thomas, Executive Director, CBM India Trust.

All of CBM India’s disaster risk reduction and humanitarian assistance programs are in support of government—central and states—initiatives. These ongoing efforts empower communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, minimizing the impact on lives and livelihoods.

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