Mamta Barik, 38, works as a daily wager so she can arrange food for her son and herself. Since the strict social distancing measures and the lockdown was imposed, she can no longer go for work. This was not enough, Cyclone Amphan has destroyed her house and blown away everything she has salvaged over the years.
Aftermath of Cyclone Amphan coupled with the reverse migration not only increased the risk of COVID 19 infection in rural districts like Balasore but also pushed people deeper into poverty. Balasore district is facing dual pressure of Cyclone Amphan on one side and influx of migrants on the other. According to the District Emergency Centre, Balasore has 15,739 returnee migrants. The numbers may rise as more than 80 villages in the district share border with West Bengal leading to unsafe returnee movements. Amphan resulted in a double disaster for migrant families in Balasore as they now have to seek ways to repair their damaged houses when their sole means of livelihood has been disrupted.
Mamta has received an unconditional cash transfer from Caritas India through the START NETWORK so she can spend the money on what she needs, and to make critical decisions about herself in a dignified manner. When she went to the bank and checked, she was surprised with the credited amount and tears came down. She planned to invest this money in some good income generation activity and decided to start a small poultry farm in her backyard. The financial support has empowered her to take calculative decision to rebuild her life. She is now structuring the shed and given the order for bamboo and polyethene and other necessary materials.
Caritas India through her priority-based, life-saving humanitarian assistance ensures food security and livelihood through Unconditional cash transfer and Hygiene kit. Together with Balasore Social Service Society, START response will support targeted beneficiaries among returnee migrants (focusing on an inclusive approach).
The START response is reaching out to the most vulnerable 500 beneficiaries among returnee migrants across 3 Gram Panchayats (N M Padia, Jayrampur and Sankhari) in Balasore with unconditional cash transfer (food security and livelihood) of 5580 INR for 30 days for a family of 4 and hygiene kits through health safety and COVID 19 awareness activities. Caritas India is also engaged in building awareness of 2000 individuals (including elderly and children) in these intervention areas.
So far, 350 households in 3 Panchayat have received hygiene kit and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UTC) with the support of local panchayat leaders and village committee. Caritas India proposes that unconditional cash transfer (food security & livelihood) affirms a participant’s dignity by providing him/her the flexibility to access resources of their choice.
The amount for Cash transfer was fixed on a rights-based Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) calculation wherein expenditure per family (based on actual consumption pattern) should at least support a family with minimum essential needs for a “nutritionally balanced basket”. A standard expenditure of 4500 INR is required to meet the average requirement of 8,400 kCal (2,100 kCal per individual) for a family of 4 members in Odisha. Hence, total MEB for a month/ 30 days based on the average nutritional basket for Odisha is 5580 INR. Caritas India proposes to provide 5580 INR which is 100% of the total MEB.