Cyclone-hit slum dwellers in Odisha’s Berhampur celebrate Diwali with solar lights

Berhampur:  Deprived of electricity since cyclone Phailin hit Odisha about three weeks ago, slum dwellers of this coastal town in the worst-hit Ganjam district are celebrating Diwali with solar lights.

Bernard van Leer Foundation, a Netherland-based NGO in association with a local organisation, had distributed relief kits to the slum dwellers before the festival of lights. Among other materials, the relief kits contain a solar lantern.

“We have distributed the relief kits to around 5,500 slum dwellers of about 40 slum pockets in the town,” said Jacob Thundyl, President of the local NGO ‘PREM’.

“We wanted to distribute the relief materials before Diwali so that they could celebrate the festival in some way,” he said.

“I requested Thundyl to distribute these on the eve of Diwali as at least they can light up their houses with the solar lantern,” said Berhampur Municipal Corporation corporator Mamata Bisoi.

“These are very helpful to us as we can light up the house for Diwali,” said N Admabati, a slum-dweller at Good Shed Road in Berhampur.

About 35,000 dwelling units in 163 slum pockets have been damaged by the cyclone in the town, official sources said.