Accepted Paper:

Impact of Cyclone Aila on the livelihoods of the people of Sundarbans, West Bengal  


Kalindi Sharma (University of Delhi)
PC Joshi (University of Delhi)

Paper short abstract:

The study on the impact of Cyclone Aila on the livelihood of the people of Sundarbans can be regarded as a crucial step in the anthropological enquiry of disasters. It attempts to understand the lives and coping strategies of people living with disasters.

Paper long abstract:

Common to the coastal regions around the world, a cyclonic storm is capable of causing severe havoc leading to insurmountable loss of human life, massively affected flora and fauna and a disrupted lifestyle. The impact of the tropical Cyclone Aila in West Bengal (May 2009), was therefore not restricted to breached embankments, inundated lands, obstructed transit systems but also to abandonment of homes/lands and loss of sustainable support system. Owing to the conditions that prevailed, forced evacuation of the local inhabitants became inevitable which compelled them to adopt numerous strategies to cope with the lack of a sustainable lifestyle. This discourse attempts to understand the dynamics of change in livelihood while deconstructing the course of impacts that follow a disaster. The paper presents an analysis of the results of an annex study carried out in block Gosaba of South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India. The aim of the study was to focus on the impact of Cyclone Aila on the livelihood of people in Sunderbans, West Bengal with three primary objectives

1.To trace the course of change in livelihood if any, in the post disaster situation and establishing its relatedness to the disaster.

2.To understand the implications and the impacts of change in livelihood, on the life of people belonging to communities that specialize in a particular occupation.

3. To examine the correlation between the impact variables resulting from change in livelihood and thereby establish a course of lifestyle change as a result of disaster.

Panel P023
Living with disaster: comparative approaches (JAWS/JASCA joint panel)