Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mizoram villages devastated by cyclone

By Paritosh Chakma

Last week the entire Mizoram has been ravaged by heavy rain and cyclone. According to sources, about 4,826 houses have been destroyed displacing about 20,000 people.

On 30 March 2010, at least two Chakma villages namely Silsury and Hnahva under Mamit district in Western part of Mizoram have been affected. Silsury village has been totally devastated. Out of 615 total houses, 558 houses were damaged including 393 fully damaged and 165 partly damaged. A total of 14 government infrastructure suffered the brunt. With all the village’s schools (primary school and middle school and the SSA schools) damaged, education came to a standstill. The village’s only health sub centre has been blown away, severely affecting healthcare services given that a number of the villagers have been injured. Even the Buddhist temple, the community hall and the Bazaar shed have been blown away.

The Border Out Post of the Border Security Force in Silsury village also suffered the brunt. I have been informed that one BSF soldier died while another was seriously injured in the cyclone. A number of villagers were also injured.

In neigbouring Hnahva village, at least 67 houses were fully damaged.

Hundreds of Young Chakma Association (YCA) volunteers from Marpara village (20 km away) rushed to Silsury village for relief and rescue operations. The state government has claimed to have sanctioned Rs 2.74 crore for rehabilitation of those affected but assistance is yet to reach the two affected Chakma villages in Mamit district. I have been informed by credible local sources that the authorities visited the affected areas and provided only Rs 69,000 for the damage of 558 houses in Silsury (that is, average of Rs 123 per affected family) and Rs 40,000 for damage of 67 houses in Hnahva (that is, average of Rs 597 per affected family)!

The mobile towers have been damaged and phone lines cut off. This made flow of information difficult.

The affected villagers have been living in temporary tent houses made of bamboos with the help of YCA volunteers. “There are hardly 10-12 houses standing intact after the cyclone,” an YCA volunteer informs me from Silsury. Some of the villagers are already starving and helpless.

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