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INDIA: Thousands of homes destroyed by Cyclone Tauktae as country grapples with COVID-19

NEW DELHI, 18 May - Following the devastation caused by cyclone Tauktae, which hit the West coast of India yesterday killing at least 26 people and destroying thousands of homes, Save the Children is assessing the damage and the immediate needs of communities in the worst affected areas.  

The cyclone slammed into the coastal region of Gujarat, already one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, uprooting trees, felling power lines, and destroying homes and crops. Save the Children is ready to respond, though relief efforts are complicated by COVID-19.

Santanu Chakraborty, Director of Programme Implementation at Save the Children India, said: 

This is one of the most powerful cyclones we’ve faced in India for decades, and after weeks of chaos and devastating loss of life caused by COVID-19, it could not have come at a worse time. Thousands of children and their families have lost their homes and their livelihoods, and the damage caused to roads and infrastructure will put even more pressure on local administrations already struggling to cope with the fallout from the pandemic.  

“We are learning that at least 3,000 homes have been destroyed, huge numbers of crops and cattle have been lost, and there is vast damage to electricity and power lines, making it hard to reach those who need help.” 

“Save the Children’s humanitarian team has begun assessing the damage and stands ready to respond. The true picture will become clearer in the coming days when we will better know the priorities of families and children impacted by the cyclone. We’re particularly concerned about children from the coastal areas where people have lost their crops and livelihoods - their lives will be affected by this cyclone for many years to come.” 



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