100 days of ‘Building Back Better’ after Cyclone Amphan

Looking back at 100 days since Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal, SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society) a leading humanitarian organization welcomes Panchami Purkayi to her newly built house in the 24 South Parganas district. She along with her husband and son (both with disabilities) took refuge in a nearby primary school ever since their home was destroyed in the cyclone. With support from IBM, SEEDS has been undertaking relief work by providing basic amenities, organizing health camps, and housing facilities in the district.

Manu Gupta, Co-Founder, SEEDS said, “We feel elated when people like Panchami Purkayi take a step forward in getting their lives back on track. We are grateful to have contributed towards the betterment of families who get affected in the face of such disasters. The house design is inspired by vernacular housing typologies and construction technologies of the region. Use of natural materials along with disaster risk reduction features provides a safe and comfortable house for the community keeping in lines with a minimum carbon footprint.”

The Cyclone Amphan response focused on bringing the families back to normalcy through a holistic approach of recovery. The initial response phase addressed the immediate needs of dry ration, hygiene items, and safe drinking water supply to the affected families. A mobile health care camp was also organized which included a mobile bus equipped with advanced facilities like x-ray, ultrasound, bone and blood tests. A dedicated team of doctors and health care volunteers travelled in the remotest locations of the district and treated over 1000 people with the much-needed care.

While the relief effort continued on the ground, it is necessary to create long-term resilience among vulnerable communities and helping them to Build Back Better. Part of the intervention looked at supporting in repair and restoring of 133 partial damaged houses with technical assistance and construction of 40 new houses.

Talking about the initiative, Manoj Balachandran, Leader, Corporate Social Responsibility, IBM India said, “In the last few months, there has been unprecedented damage to human lives and property in the region. We are glad that, in collaboration with SEEDS, we have been able to support a holistic approach of recovery and give back to the community. IBM is committed to bringing the power of our technology, resources and people to better serve the society – it has always been central to our purpose as an enterprise.”

Despite the on-ground challenges of the monsoon and Covid-19 crisis SEEDS and IBM continue to relentlessly work with the communities, local authorities and panchayats to restore the lives of the most in need.

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