Cyclone in the Sundarbans: Of Relief Work and Resilience

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 56, Issue 2 , p.64-66 (2020)



cyclone Amphan, relief work, Sundarbans


Following Cyclone Amphan, relief work in the already sensitive and complex Sundarbans delta was complicated by the sudden nationwide lockdown. Relief in the Sundarbans is complicated. Last winter, we went to a village with blankets for the neediest section of the village. But the villagers demanded that everyone get a blanket. The women were pointing kataris [sharp knives] and shouting at us. We had to cancel our distribution and come back,” recounted Rezwana as she was taking stock of the ration stored in her house for relief work. Despite their earlier experience, Rezwana and her friends from Kolkata had decided to go back to the very same village to distribute relief. But this time, she had arranged for police protection along the route. News of the loot of relief vans in the Sundarbans following cyclone Amphan had started circulating already. Amphan had left a trail of destruction across south Bengal, with physical and virtual communication networks in many remote areas disrupted.