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The cyclone that slammed India’s eastern coast over the weekend caused widespread damage there, but very little damage to Heifer projects, Heifer India Country Director Avni Malhotra reported to Heifer headquarters on Monday.

While information gathering was hindered by the loss of electricity after the storm, Malhotra said no Heifer farmers were among the 17 reported dead. Only one Heifer home was reported damaged, and the damage was caused by a falling tree. More flooding is expected, however.

The New York Times said Monday that Cyclone Phailin washed away thousands of homes, damaged crops and was expected to drop another 10 inches of rain over the coming two days. It will probably take weeks to form an assessment of the storm’s true damage.

As of Sunday evening, the cyclone had been downgraded to a depression.

Malhotra said that Heifer can help many of the families affected rebuild their livelihoods, even if they are not currently involved in projects. Heifer India will participate in meetings to determine a possible role in disaster recovery.

Heifer staff, partners and community members have received training in Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction, Malhotra said. So far there are no reports of animal casualties or crop damage. As we receive more information, we'll share it here on World Ark blog.


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.