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Travel Companies Help in Indian Disaster


Two weeks ago Cyclone Aila ravaged eastern India and Bangladesh. In the Sunderbans, the scenic islands and mangrove forests set in the Gangetic delta, the wind, the tidal waves and the flood destroyed or damaged over 500,000 houses.

Over 150,000 people lost their homes, fields, work equipment and livelihoods. Many of them lost their breadwinners or other family members.

With the disaster killing their cattle and rendering their farmlands saline and infertile for many months or even years, it is a very grim outlook for the local population. In India and Bangladesh an estimated five million people are affected in one way or the other.

Heavy monsoon rains are predicted in few days to come – a grim forecast considering that many of the affected families are left with no proper shelter.

To prevent more floods, the local communities with support from the government, military and NGOs have been desperately trying to repair embankments to prepare for the monsoon.

Still effective disaster management is not on track yet. There is a lack of basic necessities like water, staple food and medical assistance. While some delta islands have received relief items, many others have got nothing. Health workers fear that lack of water and sanitation facilities may lead to outbreak of epidemics. Already there are cases of diarrhoea. Children will go hungry on under-nourished.

The media grossly under-reported the impact of the disaster and failed to predict its aftermath. It was actually a precursor another calamity with the fierce annual monsoon rains imminent.

In a rapid response to the appeal of their local partners in the Sunderbans, The Blue Yonder, and Help Tourism have set up the Cyclone Aila Support Group to help local communities in peril in the Sunderbans Region. Their local partner, the Association for Conservation and Tourism (ACT), was in the field during and immediately after the cyclone and is currently stretching its resources to reach out to people at the earliest.

The Cyclone Aila Support Group has partnered with the Charities Aid Foundation – India (CAF India) to help manage an accountable and transparent fund raising process. The ACT and the West Bengal Voluntary Health Association (WBVHA) are co-ordinating relief efforts on the ground.

Said the tour operators: “The Cyclone Aila Support Group is committed to supporting the long-term rehabilitation of the Sunderbans region and we need all your support – for now and for the future!”

Further information at:

Valere Tjolle


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Categories: Voluntourism,Sustainable Tourism


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