Pulled from the Wreckage: Surviving India’s Storm

CRS is helping people whose homes were destroyed by a severe storm that hit northeast India in April. Here, CRS India staff share one family’s story:

Mrs. Azgari Begum, 65, lives in a thatched house with her son, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. All the family members were sleeping in the house on April 13th. When a powerful storm and heavy rains started around midnight, the family members took shelter under one wooden cot. As the force of the wind increased, they felt that the thatched, mud-plaster walls of their house were trembling and might fall at any time.

India storm

Musommat Azgari Begum, left, and her daughter-in-law and grandchild survived a severe storm on April 13, 2010. The wind ripped the tin-sheet roof from their cottage and the thatched walls collapsed. Photo by CRS staff

The wind blew off the tin sheets that made their roof. As the storm grew worse, the walls collapsed on the bed under which they were hiding.

Neighbors ran to rescue the family, pulling them out from under the cot. The entire family crawled approximately 200 yards to reach shelter.

Azgari Begum says that this is the first time in her life she has witnessed this kind of storm. The family lost all the tin sheets for roofing and were unable to find them. Most of the village’s tin sheets were blown to a river about a mile away from their village.

The family received a temporary shelter kit from CRS’s local church partner, the Purnea Social and Education Society. The kit includes a tarp, rope, floor/sleeping mat, candles, and matches.

Azgari Begum is happy that her small grandchildren are safe, and that her family has a temporary roof over its head.

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