Cyclone Vardah: Caritas-CRS bags START Fund for Response

On 12 December 2016, Tamil Nadu was gutted by a severe cyclonic storm Vardah, with wind speed up to 140 km per hour, making it the strongest storm to hit India since Cyclone Hudhud in 2014. Many homes – especially which were makeshift or poorly constructed were razed to the ground making them uninhabitable. Cut in water supply and access to food created conditions of compromised hygiene and health risks, particularly for adolescent girls and (pregnant and lactating) women.

Based on the rapid assessments report clubbed with information from the discussions at the State Inter Agency Group meetings – Caritas India and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) jointly raised an emergency alert to the UK based START Network (START fund) for short-term support to address the immediate and life-saving needs of the affected people.

With support from START fund, response has been prioritised in four wards in Chennai City Municipality and four blocks in Tiruvallur district- most affected areas with many marginalized households.  These are also areas which have huge Dalit population, and significant fishing communities, who in normal times also dwell in precarious living conditions, as unorganised sector workers. This made Caritas India focus them, with women headed households, young children, elderly and persons with disabilities in its response strategy.

This is the second time in a row (after Bihar flood 2016), Caritas India was awarded the START Fund to the tune of GBP 59,948 (jointly with CRS this time).

1000 households will be supported with lifesaving supplies, under Shelter and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) utilities.

Evaluated against the three criteria of Relevance, Effectiveness and Efficiency in the bidding, the START Fund grant has strongly enabled Caritas India’s outreach to the worst affected families in this hour of crisis, intensifying the true Joy of Giving for Caritas family in sharing the grief and relief of the Vardah affected brothers, sisters and children.