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PRAFUL aims to bring a healing touch to the lives of disabled people affected in Odisha's Cyclone Fani

Cyclone Fani caused massive destruction in Odisha in May this year. The administration in Puri has come up with a rehabilitation initiative for people with disabilities that aims to rebuild the region and get back people to normal life.

Cyclone Fani destroyed thousands of houses, buildings, roads and other structures. Hundreds of people became homeless and lost their means of livelihood in the cyclone that was India's biggest storm in decades.

The Puri district administration launched a project for disabled people affected in the floods called PwDs Rehabilitation After Fani & Unfolding Lives (PRAFUL). The aim is to ensure that people most vulnerable in the event of a natural disaster get the help and support needed at the right time.

People with disabilities are the most vulnerable in our society. And the Cyclone Fani has destroyed the houses, livelihood, and education of people with disabilities. So, we have taken an initiative to strengthen, rehabilitate and restore the different aspects of life affected. - Balwant Singh, Collector, Puri

There are several aspects that will be worked on under PRAFUL like:

  1. A survey of disabled people in the district.

  2. Provision of social security schemes

  3. Distribution of aids and appliances damaged during Fani.

  4. Special health camp for treatment of people with disabilities.

  5. Mass marriages for people with disabilities from financially weak families.

  6. Corrective surgery camps.

  7. Vocational training and skill development

  8. Providing inclusive education and create accessible environment in schools and colleges.

  9. Disability sensitisation program at colleges, universities and other educational institutions.

  10. Construction of houses for disabled people.

  11. Providing accessible public toilets.

  12. Livelihood training and hand holding support.

There are several such development plans that PRAFUL is aiming to achieve within the time frame of an year to ensure that disabled people in the area get equal opportunities for education, treatment, growth and rehabilitation.

"We are aiming to build around 6,000 ,houses, 4000 toilets, schools and initiatives for livelihood generation that are needed for a better quality of life", says Jyoti Prasanna Patnaik, a consultant with PRAFUL. "Fani has destroyed many lives and there is a lot of work that is needed to be done for the people. Through PRAFUL we aim to assist the disabled people get back into mainstream".

Under PRAFUL people with disabilities in Puri district will be provided livelihood opportunities, homes, schools and other facilities to help them lead better lives.

Among those affected is Abhimanyu Pradhan who says he is facing a major financial burden after the floods. "I lost my shop and home. For the last three months, I have been trying to reestablish my business but my poor financial condition does not allow it. I am happy the district administration has started an initiative to help us".

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 emphasises the need to formulate a disaster management plan for disabled people affected in natural disasters. The PRAFUL initiative should we welcomed and could hold important learnings going forward.

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