'People of Sunderbans Didn't Die in Cyclone Yaas, They Might Die of Poverty' -Himadri Ghosh
While hundreds of houses are still under water, the storms triggered by the cyclone have inundated ponds and farmlands with saline water, possibly making the land uncultivable for years.
Sunderbans: Cyclones are now routine in the Sunderbans. After Amphan caused widespread damage last year, Yaas has led to more damage.
“People didn’t die this time in the cyclone, but they might die of poverty. We lost all our means of livelihood. How can we survive this way?” said Gourhari Manna of Sridharnagar of L-Plot, one of the islands in Sundarban located at the lap of Bay of Bengal.
“They won’t let us live. Amphan last year damaged everything, and within a year Yaas came to damage us even more,” he said.
The Sundarbans delta is located around 100 kilometres from Kolkata. To get there from the state capital, it takes at least four hours by car and then boat. The Wire visited the Patharpratima block on Sunday. This block was one of the worst affected of the Sundarbans islands during the course of cyclone Yaas last week.
Loss of livelihood
Days before the cyclone hit the island, the government evacuated over 1,000 families of Sridharnagar gram panchayat in Patharpratima block. When The Wire visited the island, some families said they had gone back to their homes only to return to the flood centres at night because of high tides.
Five days after the landfall of the cyclone, hundreds of houses are still under water. The base of many houses got washed away as the remaining structure stands on bamboo. Poritosh Jana, 53, lost four bighas (21,404 square metres) of farmland, which he shared with his younger brother. Jana is now living with his family in the local school, which is being used as a shelter house.
“Every year this happens. God doesn’t want us to live. Our farmland is completely destroyed because of saline water. Anyway there is hardly any income because of COVID-19 lockdown. Now, there will be no income,” said Jana.
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TheWire.in, 1 June, 2021, https://thewire.in/environment/sunderbans-cyclone-yaas-loss-of-homes-livelihood-farmlands-covid-19