When we met with villages affected by the flood in Puri District, Orissa in early November, I didn’t immediately grasp the magnitude of the flood’s impact. By that point, the flooding had receded and most roads were usable. From the motorcycle, the ubiquitous paddy fields were vividly green and seemed to be on the verge of harvesting. But upon closer inspection, I realized that the paddy’s stalks were empty, the rice swept away by the flood.
The flood that devastated the state of Orissa in India
Dillip (OSVSWA Director) estimates that 90% of the paddy crops in the district were destroyed.
This blow to a household’s income would be devastating in any situation. But the effects of the loss of income for households in Puri are compounded by other problems arising from the flood: largely, access to clean water. Though their natural clean water sources had been compromised because of the floodwater, households could not afford other clean water options like bottled water or water purifier tablets.
When we met with households in early November, they had gone without clean water for just over two months. This made residents vulnerable to water-borne illnesses like diarrhea. Households made passionate pleas for clean water and it was clear that the donated Tulip Water Filters Kopernik organized could not arrive fast enough.
Luckily, households didn’t have to wait much longer.
Over the past week, OSVSWA distributed water filters to 500 flood-affected households, reaching 11 villages, in Puri District.
Unfortunately, I was unable to join for the distribution as I have since returned to Kechla and the drip irrigation project. However, I spoke with Dillip and he was happy to report that the distributions went smoothly.
After hosting meetings in each village to discuss filter use/maintenance and conduct baseline assessments, OSVSWA distributed one filter to each household representative. While the individuals eagerly left for their homes with their new filters in hand, there was a palpable sense of relief in the air. After close to three months, households finally had the means to meet their clean water needs.
Meeting with Chhenua villagers and the distribution that followed
In Udakayani village
In Tandahar village
In Keutajangha village
In Telikuda village