Cyclone Yass Relief Efforts In The Sunderbans

Human and Environment Alliance League (HEAL) – To provide relief to the forest communities in the Sunderbans affected by Cyclone Yass and to ensure livelihood sustainability to prevent overexploitation of natural resources

by Human and Environment Alliance League

About the fundraiser:

Cyclone Yass has caused massive and continued flooding by breaking the bunds on riverbanks in the Sunderbans. All agricultural fields, ponds etc are still inundated in saline water. The flooding is way worse than the destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan or any other cyclone in our memory. Presently there is acute shortage of fresh drinking water, food and other basic amenities. In the longer term, saline water flooding the agricultural fields and ponds will make them unsuitable for regular farming or pisciculture, which is fundamental to the economy of the area. Villagers may end up overexploiting resources within the forests by engaging in illegal fishing, logging, prawn seedling collection etc. Thus we need to provide both short term relief to lessen the hardship of these forest communities, and ensure long term livelihood and sustainability so that natural resources are not overexploited.

How funds will be utilised:

In the short term, we are supplying fresh drinking water, food, bleaching powder and dry rations to the worst affected areas in Patharpratima, Kultali and Gosaba blocks around the Sunderbans. Where possible, we are also setting up community kitchens as most houses are still flooded.

We will also focus on long term income generation for forest villages and prevent them from overexploiting the forests. To this end, soil desalination projects to make the agricultural lands suitable for next season and distribution of salinity resistant seeds will be taken up.

Impact on the ground:

We have already provided food packets and drinking water to about 1500 families around the Sunderbans. We are also running a community kitchen that feeds about 600 people every day. We want to extend this to a few more villages (around 800 families more). This will lessen the hardship in the short term. In the long term, our livelihood generation projects should make people go back to agriculture in these villages.

Human and Environment Alliance League

Human and Environment Alliance League (HEAL) is a Kolkata-based non-profit organisation focused on biodiversity conservation, mitigation of human-animal conflict and enforcement of wildlife and environmental laws. We work with forest villages around the Sunderbans, where we attempt to tackle human-animal conflict and reduce dependence on forests by generating alternate livelihoods. We undertook large-scale relief work after Cyclone Amphan in these areas, and the long term livelihood generation projects are still running.