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USAID’s Disaster Assistance Helps India Avoid More Deaths After Cyclone

Noting a cyclone killed at least 10,000 people on the east coast of India in 1999, and a similar cyclone last week hit the same area, resulting in about 50 fatalities, Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, writes in the Huffington Post’s “World” section, “This reduction in fatality levels from the tens of thousands down to the tens is no accident — it is a powerful example of how good disaster risk reduction efforts can save lives on a massive scale.” The Indian government’s efforts to issue storm warnings and evacuate nearly one million people are well documented, “[b]ut the untold story behind those headlines is how a U.S. government partnership helped India to develop that capacity,” he writes. Konyndyk describes USAID’s work with India in disaster response and mitigation, concluding, “The Indian government deserves enormous credit for its investment in these systems, and the U.S. can take pride in knowing that our investment in this partnership with India has now paid off in a big way” (10/25).