Cyclone Fani highlights urgent need for loss and damage to be on #Auspol agenda

As the damage bill comes in for Cyclone Fani, which hit India and Bangladesh on Friday 3 May, global women’s rights organisation ActionAid Australia said it’s time to put loss and damage on the Australian Government’s agenda.


“This is one of the largest evacuations in human history with over 1.2 million people affected in India alone and livelihoods severely impacted.  We’ve also just seen some of the worst cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere hit parts of southern Africa, leaving over a million people displaced in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

“Devastation caused by floods, droughts, wildfires, cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes will continue to worsen as global temperatures rise and increase the frequency and intensity of such extreme weather events.

“The Australian Government has done little to curb climate change emissions and meet the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. It must now step up to compensate countries that are already experiencing the worst effects of climate change”, said Michelle Higelin, Executive Director of ActionAid Australia.

A recent report published by ActionAid International following Cyclone Idai, which ripped through southern Africa in March 2019, has called on governments to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable are prepared, protected and fairly compensated for loss and damage as rising global temperatures wreak havoc around the world.

Cyclone Fani, which made landfall near Puri, India, on Friday 3rd May, is further evidence that more needs to be done to protect the most at risk.

Debabrat Patra, ActionAid India’s Regional Manager in Odisha, said:

“Women sheltering in a high school in Puri have said that the government should move beyond short-term measures. They want to be permanently re-homed somewhere safe. These villagers were from Tandahar and have been displaced four times already during cyclones. They are very tense because their livelihoods have been lost and they’ve left behind all their belongings.”

ActionAid has responded to 23 emergencies in India alone since 1993, and in cyclone-prone Odisha more than 1500 women have been trained as humanitarian responders to put in place disaster contingency plans in 35 villages of Jagatsinghpur and Ganjam districts.

“Women in Odisha are now mobilising to respond and to have a voice in the reconstruction efforts. However, this is not enough. Governments like Australia must make a long term commitment to compensate those most impacted by the devasting impacts of climate change for the loss and damage that we have contributed to,” said Michelle Higelin.


Media contact: Sarah Thompson, 0420 892 450 or [email protected]