Jogendra Paikray’s life was not easy to begin with. He belongs, with his family, to a scheduled caste in India – a group in society considered to be underprivileged. He has asthma and recently lost his job as a cook in a canteen because of his coughing. His wife and three daughters work a small plot of land to try to feed the family, but it is not enough. His 83 year-old father lives with them, but is unable to work.
On May 3 2019, bad went to worse for Jogendra. Cyclone Fani struck the province of Odisha in India where he lives with his family.
Thanks to the disaster readiness plans of the Indian government, 1.5 million people were evacuated prior to the cyclone, preventing a potentially high death toll. However, 14 million people were still affected by the cyclone. They lost their houses, household items, crops, food, and their livelihood options including agriculture, livestock, horticulture, fishing, daily wage opportunities and small businesses.
Additionally, people already disadvantaged in society were more severely affected, including those from scheduled casts, scheduled tribes, female-headed households, the elderly, and households with a member with a chronic illness.
As the rain and wind battered their community, Jogendra and his family left their house and moved in to a local youth club. After Cyclone Fani passed, he came back to his house, where only a mud wall was still standing. All of their possessions were damaged or destroyed. He returned to the club and told his family to stay there until he was able to rebuild their home.
Then things started to get better.
With support from the Humanitarian Coalition and the government of Canada, Islamic Relief was in Jogendra’s community, responding with life-saving support to the affected population. They provided shelter, food and household items, water and hygiene, and organized cash-for-work projects.
Jogendra was able to start working on a rebuilding project. He used the cash received to purchase some straw. Using straw, a polythene sheet, a ground sheet and mosquito net, he prepared a temporary room for his family. Now they are all together in their new home, protected from the weather.
“Thanks to Islamic Relief. They provided us with temporary house material,” he says. “It is temporary, but it is a heaven for us.”