A survey by Khadya Suraksha Jan Adhikar Manch in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district has painted a grim picture of tribals battling starvation after being battered by Cyclone Yaas on May 27.
The survey done in June among 104 affected families in nine blocks (out of a total of 18 blocks) of West Singhbhum has found several families forced to stay under tree shed in rainy season after houses were completely damaged in the thunderstorm and they do not have finances to repair the houses themselves, some have their food grains damaged while some took loans to repair their houses.
Janani Bera, a widow, at Sonua in Chakradharpur, West Singhbhum, whose house has been damaged by the cylone Bhola Prasad
“It is nearly a month since the Cyclone Yaas affected us but the state government is yet to take any step for immediate assistance of the affected families.
“The situation has been further worsened as even social security schemes like green ration cards have not reached several families. We presented our survey findings to the West Singhbhum deputy commissioner (Ananya Mittal) on Friday and were assured of remedial measures at the earliest,” said Sanjeev Pradhan, a member of the Manch (a coalition of organisations espousing cause of food and social security).
The survey points out that 10 per cent of the total 104 families do not have green ration cards while several of them are yet to get benefits of social security pensions.
Omni Mukhi at her wrecked house at Hathia panchayat in Chakradharpur Bhola Prasad
Nearly 10 per cent of the families do not have bank accounts, around 19 per cent of the families do not have proper food grains to last for two weeks. None of the affected families claim to have received any assistance from
the district administration as part of compensation after the cyclone.
“We have only surveyed a handful of families in a few blocks of the district. There will be thousands of families affected by the cyclone and we have asked the deputy commissioner to provide dry rations and food items and adequate compensation. The deceased family should at least get Rs 4 lakh while those whose houses have been completely damaged should get Rs 50,000 and those whose houses have been partially damaged should immediately get Rs 20,000 and all the affected families should be linked to social security schemes.
“The administration should survey and assess the damage and make the compensation amounts public,” said Siraj Dutta, a Ranchi-based food rights activist and member of the Manch.
State disaster management department secretary Amitabh Kaushal said that an assessment report has been sought from all the 24 districts.
“Assessment of damages due to the cyclone has already been sought from all the districts and we have received the reports from nearly 19 districts and will be getting the remaining districts report in a day or two. Soon after getting the report we would be allocating compensation to the affected families in various districts,” said Kaushal.