Livestock rearers and fishers bear the brunt of cyclone Amphan

Ravaged by the severe tropical cyclone that struck the region this summer, the livestock and fishes have taken a hit, impacting people's livelihoods.
The Amphan swept away the chicken coops and other domestic animals. This is Anup Bhakta standing with one of the few goats left after the storm. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen) The Amphan swept away the chicken coops and other domestic animals. This is Anup Bhakta standing with one of the few goats left after the storm. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

The Amphan cyclone that struck the Sundarbans in the month of May this year has wreaked havoc in the area destroying lives and livelihood. A lot of the locals living in the Sundarbans depend on animal husbandry and fishing to earn a living. The cyclone destroyed animal rearing shelters and swept away most of the cattle and domestic animals. The saline water that entered ponds and lakes resulted in locals having to dispose of fish which could have earned these people income.

After the Aila storm in 2009, the region had already suffered quite a lot. The locals had to move to other states to earn more than the meagre incomes that they were managing at home due to the irreversible devastation caused by Aila. Recently, because of the coronavirus pandemic, all those locals had to move back and the concurrent cyclone has made the villagers despondent and exacerbated their suffering.

Ahmad Khan stands with his duck. His barn, chicken have all been destroyed and swept away by the cyclone. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

This chicken coop had been destroyed due to the cyclone. The roof has been remade. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

Records that were maintained by locals about animals and their rearing which are extremely important have been washed away with the animals. Nothing could be retrieved from these destroyed rearing shelters. The families managed to save some of the domestic animals but most the infrastructure that supported the animal husbandry business in the Sundarbans has been washed away. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

Fishing is a common profession in the Sundarbans. Most locals fish during the day. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

Men go out in their boats to fish and later sell these fishes. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

However, this occupation has suffered terribly due to the cyclone. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

Dead fish could be seen floating in the ponds and lakes two days after the cyclone and had to be disposed of. The fishing business which is the source of income for many families has suffered greatly. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)

Animal husbandry and fishing, as can be seen in the pictures, has been affected to a very large extent with entire animal rearing centres being destroyed and records being washed away. They have no way to earn from home through animal husbandry and fishing nor can they go to other states to find jobs because of the ongoing lockdown. With almost all existing infrastructure being torn down due to the cyclone, locals will have to build everything back again and set up their businesses all over again which will be extremely tough especially since their problems have been exacerbated due to the pandemic.

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