Bhubaneswar: Shantilata Harichandan has been having a hard time going to the bathroom. It has been four days and she says that men have the liberty to go to the field to relieve themselves but women cannot do that. Like her, several other women in Tarini Basti of capital city are suffering.
OMMCOM NEWS spent some time with Shantilata’s family in the slum to understand the plight of the residents after the devastation caused by Cyclone FANI. Packed with 40 houses in a small area, Shantilata and her family of three have been eating flattened rice (chura) and sugar over the last 72 hours.
Husband Prasanna Kumar Harichandan said, “Before the cyclone, we used to get supply water. But now, bathing is a luxury for us. We are managing to bring two buckets of water from the tank that is coming every morning and those two small buckets are becoming our saviour for the entire day.”
Meanwhile, son Shraban Kumar and daughter Subhalaxmi were busy cleaning the tree branches from their house’s roof. Not just that, there is water everywhere in the house. The members do not have any space to stand inside. The furniture and equipments in the house have been destroyed with rebuilding being the only option left.
“We were locked up in our room when the wind speed was ferocious outside. We were scared when the roaring sound of the wind accompanied by thudding of trees on our roof started. It felt like the last day of our life,” said Shubhalaxmi.
Shraban, a student of Class 10, is worried about revising his chapters. He narrated, “Without electricity, studying is possible only during the day. It is a crucial year for me and I cannot miss out on revision. Kerosene is slowly getting over and lanterns will become useless after that.”
On the other hand, Shantilata looked anxious. When enquired, she said that rice, atta and pulses have soaked wet in the rain. “My children have become sick of eating chura. Prices of vegetables have sky-rocketed. A bottle of water is Rs 35. The firewood is also coming close to an end. I don’t know what to do anymore,” she said helplessly.
This is only the story of one family. Imagine the plight of all the 40 families staying in that slum. Now, imagine the condition of all 200+ slums in the city. Do you see the suffering ending soon?