Bidisha Pillai, CEO, Save the Children in India, says:
“We fear for the well-being of children in Mumbai and the state of Maharashtra where Cyclone Nisarga is expected to make landfall on Wednesday just north of the city. Mumbai is already facing its biggest health crisis in living memory because of the Coronavirus pandemic. If hospitals and clinics are damaged by the cyclone, the city won’t be able to cope with the large number of COVID19 cases, and social distancing measures will become virtually impossible to follow.
“High wind speeds of up to 115 kph and the resulting floods could be devastating for Mumbai – a mega city of more than 18 million people. The poor and marginalized who live in slums and poorly constructed housing stand to suffer the most. Mumbai is already stretched to its limits and the state of Maharashtra has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in India, which continue to spiral upwards each day.
“Extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, floods and cyclones have increased in frequency and intensity in recent decades across the Asia-Pacific region. This is aggravating water shortages, affecting crops, threatening food security and increasing health risks – especially for vulnerable communities in low-lying areas and those who rely on farming to survive.
“Save the Children has responded to all the major cyclones to hit India over the last decade and we stand ready to support the government’s efforts, as required. We are already responding to COVID-19 in many parts of the country, as well as supporting communities affected by Cyclone Amphan just two weeks ago.”
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