Question: What havoc has the super cyclone wreaked in the life of the people of Orissa?
Weathering the Storm in Ersama – Answer: After the super cyclone, a raging deadly brown sheet of water covered everything. Only some fractured cement houses still stood in a few places. Bloated animal carcasses and human corpses floated in every direction. Even the huge old trees had fallen. When Prashant went towards his village along with two friends of his uncle, the scenes they witnessed grew more and more horrid. They had to push away many human bodies and carcasses of dogs, goats, and cattle. They could barely see a house standing. All the houses had been washed away.
Question: How has Prashant, a teenager, been able to help the people of his village?
Answer: Prashant helped the people of his village by first getting a grip over himself because he was initially shocked on witnessing the after effects of the cyclone. He decided to step in as the leader of his village. He organized a group of youths and elders to jointly pressurize the merchant to given rice for the people living in the shelter. He was successful in this task. His next task was to organize a team of youth volunteers to clean the shelter and to tend to the wounds of the people who had been injured because of the cyclone.
Prashant also brought a number of orphaned children together and constructed a polythene shelter for them. While women were mobilized to look after them, the men secured food and other essentials for the shelter. When he realized that the women were becoming too grief-stricken, he persuaded them to start working in the food-for-work programme, which was initiated by an NGO. He also organized sports events for children.
Question: How have the people of the community helped one another? What role do the women of Kalikuda play during these days?
Answer: The people of the community helped one another by joining hands under the leadership of Prashant. They jointly pressurized the merchant to give rice as everybody was starving. A fire was lighted to cook the rice. It was the first time after the cyclone had hit the area that everyone ate their fill. A team of youth volunteers was organized to clean the shelter and to tend to the wounds and fractures of the people who had been injured because of the cyclone.
When the military helicopter dropped some food parcels but did not return, the youth task force gathered empty utensils from the shelter and deputed the children to lie in the sand with these utensils on their stomachs to communicate to the passing helicopters that they were hungry.
The women of Kalikuda looked after the orphaned children. Though they became grief-stricken after a few days, on Prashant’s insistence, they also started working in the food-for-work programme started by an NGO.
Question: What do Prashant and other volunteers resist the plan to set up institutions for orphans and widows? Why alternatives do they consider?
Answer: Prashant and the other volunteers resisted the plan to set up institutions for orphans and widows because they felt that in such institutions, children would grow up without love and the widows would suffer from stigma and loneliness. Prashant’s group believed that orphans should be resettled in their community itself, possibly in new foster families made up of childless widows and children without adult care.
Question: Do you think Prashant is good leader? Do you think young people can get together to help people during natural calamities?
Answer – Weathering the Storm in Ersama: Yes, Prashant is a very good leader. Though he himself was too grief-stricken, he got a hold of himself and decided to step in as the leader of the village. He carried out his role effectively and helped the people of his village in every possible manner.
Yes. Young people can definitely get together to help people during natural calamities and otherwise. They can use their strength and vigour to help people.