On October 12, 2014, Cyclone Hudhud made landfall near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, causing widespread devastation to the area (estimated USD $11,000,000,000 in damage). The cyclone reached wind speeds of 115 mph (185 kph), taking the lives of 46, injuring 24 more, and laying waste to more than 4.85 billion pounds (2.2 million tonnes) of grain and foodstuffs grown there. Reports from the joint inter-agency of various NGOs state that over 920,000 people have been directly affected with substantial damage to infrastructure, crops, loss of assets, livelihoods and damage to property. Prior to the storm, more than 700,000 people throughout Andhra Pradesh were evacuated to relief camps outside the storm’s reach, and the government has been applauded for their proactive efforts to minimize casualties.
All Hands Volunteers deployed their 6-person Disaster Assessment Response Team (DART) to manage relief efforts in Visakhapatnam, assessing with local partners on the ground to determine the needs of the communities and to see how they can bring assistance to those families most affected. Following an in depth multi-sector assessment the All Hands Volunteers Disaster Assessment and Response Team (DART) reached the conclusion to not set up a response project for Cyclone Hudhud.
The government’s response was commendable: fleets of heavy machinery were deployed to clear the streets, scores of laborers employed to reconnect power and communication infrastructure and armed forces were mobilized for the immediate aftermath, and village authorities worked to assess and calculate the damage in order to aid the affected population with grants and loans, enabling them to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Even without a full picture of the scope of recovery, the resilience of the communities is apparent. Farmers have already started to clear and replant their crops, contractors have been employed to remove remaining trees from fields and families have found ways to house themselves in the short term.
The team identified specific needs for rebuilding which would follow this initial response phase, and continued to work with partners on the ground to monitor the shelter situation as more information became available, actively pursuing the opportunity to help in the long term rebuild of the region