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Cyclone Nisarga Relief Project

An initiative to help tribal communities around
Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary

The ‘Cyclone Nisarga’ Calamity

Cyclonic Storm Nisarga was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike Maharashtra, since 1891. Cyclone Nisarga left behind widespread damage across the State, especially in the coastal regions of Konkan. In Alibaug, close to where Nisarga made landfall, recorded a wind speed of 102 km/hr causing extreme damage.

Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located about 40 kms from Alibaug also suffered major damages.

Photos of the destruction at Tribal hamlets near Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary


    Roofing sheets taken by the wind

               Total Demolition of some structures


    Partial demolition of some homes

               Houses left with no roofs

GWT’s Initiative

Founder and Managing Trustee of GWT, Nikhil Bhopale reached out to his friend Arka Sarkar regarding the Amphan calamity. Arka Sarkar is the President of HEAL, which is a Kolkata-based NGO working on biodiversity conservation and mitigation of human-animal conflict. HEAL had identified 500 households with more than 2000 locals who stayed on the periphery of the Sunderbans.

National Park and had been closely associated with the forest since generations. They were in desperate need of relief material after the Amphan cyclone hit their region. HEAL, along with the support of the West Bengal Forest Department reached out to these Amphan-affected locals.

Green Works Trust’s Initiative 

The team of Green Works Trust (GWT) and Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary go back a long way. Since many years, the team has been doing nature education and awareness work at Phansad and has been closely associated with the locals there.

But after the cyclone, it was time that our very own Phansad was in need of help. Hence the GWT team took up this initiative to help raise funds for Phansad relief work.And… We got great support from our donors, that too, in these difficult times of the lockdown.

Planning for Relief Work

The GWT team reached the site as soon after getting updates from the local contacts about the cyclone’s impact on Phansad. A few locals from Supegoan and Mazgaon came forward to volunteer for the relief work.The work started with a Volunteers Meeting headed by Nikhil Bhopale (Founder and Managing Trustee of Green Works Trust). This was followed by a quick survey to meet the tribals and access the damages and the relief requirements.


Team GWT- Nikhil Bhopale, Vaibhav Patwardhan, and Sarvesh Abhyankar with local volunteers

 The Survey
GWT team along with local volunteers visited every house in the tribal hamlets to gauge the situation after the cyclone.After thorough survey (which included asking questions and collecting ration card/adhaar card), we got to know that the urgent need was to provide ration essentials and roofs.Government was supposed to provide 3-month ration during the lockdown. However, only 1-month ration was provided due to which the tribals were already facing a problem.From the survey, we also got to know that after the cyclone, the local Government had assured to provide roof facility and hence, GWT decided to focus on providing ration.


Discussion about Plan of Action after the initial survey

We were also aware that while visiting any tribal hamlet, we will need to carry additional number of kits than the surveyed number, because our volunteers couldn’t survey every house in the hamlet due to the unavailability of hamlet residents.

On-field relief work

(a) Preparing the ration kits
Back in our hometown- Panvel, we made arrangements for ration kits as per the survey. The team then, left for Phansad with 80 kits of rationing materials.

Cars loaded with kits

Each kit had:
Rice 5kg, Tur daal 1kg, Edible Oil 1kg, Red Chilli Powder 500gm, Turmeric powder 250gm, Salt 1kg.
Often the team got the ration in bulk order (especially rice and Tur daal). Hence the team had to put extra efforts for making packets in the decided quantity. There is absolutely no electricity connection at Phansad since the cyclone struck which was a challenge while working.  The team had to do the packing work under torch-lights in the evening, as the day time was mainly used for kits distribution and survey work.

Volunteers packing rice and Tur daal

(b) Distributing ration kits

The distribution was completed in 4 phases.

Phase – I

Rationing kits were distributed in 2 Tribal hamlets. A milk packet (1 ltr.) was also distributed per family.
Sumradevi: 35 families
Beliwadi: 40 families

Total 75 families were benefitted in phase-I


SPECIAL PRECAUTION due to the pandemic situation
The team took utmost care while the distribution of packets. Use of mask was mandatory and sanitiser was used before delivering each kit.


Rationing kits were distributed in 4 Tribal Hamlets. A milk packet (1 ltr.) was also distributed per family.
Manerwadi: 17 families
Wadghar: 30 families
Vave: 34 families
Valvati: 32 families

Total 113 families were benefitted in Phase-II


Rationing kits were distributed in 2 Tribal Hamlets
Khandar: 64 families
Kokban: 34 families

Total 98 families were benefitted in phase-III



Rationing kits were distributed in 8 Tribal Hamlets
Ghaanvat: 11 families
Aadi Pangale: 22 families
Nageshwar Pakhadi: 59 families
5 families
Sarane: 9 families
Nandap: 43 families
Gothanwadi: 32 families
Sanjay Nagar: 140 families

Total 321 families were benefitted in phase-IV


 (c) Summary of distribution of ration kits

Total 2,216 individuals from 607 families in 16 Tribal Hamlets were benefitted from the ‘Cyclone Nisarga Relief’ Project.

 (d) Additional task

While on the field, the team got to know that few houses were completely destroyed in the cyclone and there was no one to take care of the affected people from that house. Hence we took responsibility to repair 2 houses.


Destroyed house


Temporary structure made
by the family

 (6) Gratitude

This task would not have been possible, in this given time and situation, without the support that we got from various people and organisations.
We are thankful to our donors for the monetary help.  We are grateful to the responsible locals around Phansad who volunteered with the GWT team for the cyclone relief work. Thanks to GWT’s local representative: Pranav Bagwe

Thanks to volunteers from Mazgaon: Aniket Kondaji, Shubham Gosavi, Ved Ambaji, Ganesh Kondaji, Shubham Kondaji, Chetan Patil, Sanjyog Bullu, Bhavesh Bullu. Thanks to volunteers from Supegaon: Deepak Patekar, Kishor Bagwe, Narendra Shengale, Mahendra Ghogle, Shraddha Patekar, Vighnesh Bagwe

Sincere thanks to Maharashtra Forest Department for providing accommodation.
Mr. Bachhan for making stay arrangements.
Mrs. Seema Bagwe for making food arrangements.

We express our heart-felt thanks to our kit donors- Maanuski Foundation, Alert Citizen Forum (Mr. Niranjan Aher), Mr. Nitin Kanitkar, Ms. Sapna Koli Mr. Satish Joshi and Ms. Vandana Bhide for donating rationing kits and 91Springboard for donating milk.Thanks to Mr. Nilesh Gund, Mr. Abhay Joshi, Mr. Jayraj Nayak, Mr. Nishant Bangera, Mr. Jagrut Patil, Mr. Vinit Malpani for co-ordination and networking. Thanks to Mr. Madhav Abhyankar, Ms. Rekha Bhopale, Ms. Vidya Acharya for household help.Sincere thanks to Mr. Pragvansh Patil and Mr. Aniket Acharya for providing their vehicles for transport of materialsSincere thanks to Rohit Koshti, Kiran Gharat, Yatish Pokale, Sapna Yerunkar, Rupesh Daga and Amol Rai for supporting the cause of repairing 2 almost fully destructed houses.
Sincere thanks to Maharashtra Forest Department for always supporting us in our initiatives.
A Special thanks to Mr. Sunil Limaye (APCCF, Wildlife) and Mr. Pradeep Chavan (ACF, Wildlife, Thane) and Mr. Rajwardhan Bhosale (RFO, Phansad WLS),
Mr. Pradeep Bagwe (Staff, Forest Dept, Phansad WLS)

We are grateful to Tribal Development Department: Mr. Khedkar (Assistant Project Officer, Pen) and Miss. Namrata Shah (Research Associate, Quest, Tribal Development Department.)

Sincere thanks to other government officials: Tehasildar, Nayab Tehsildar and Talathi of Murud-Janjira tehsil.

Heartfelt thanks to Mr. Aniket Tatkare (MLA) for helping in getting official permissions to execute the relief operation.

The GWT team
Last, but not the least, the ‘Green Works Trust’ team who worked tirelessly on this project to provide relief to the cyclone-affected tribals of Phansad.

On-ground team: Nikhil Bhopale, Vaibhav Patwardhan, Sarvesh Abhyankar, Chaitanya Kapade, Abhishek Mane, Kunal Salunkhe (OWLS) and Shyam Kadav

Office support: Krupa Thakur-Patil, Milind Pandit, Nayana Shanbhag, Sagar Satpute, Dipali Bhopale, Mandar Natu

GWT’s Vision for Phansad

With the relief help provided, we sincerely hope that the tribes of Phansad are able to overcome the cyclone calamity and once again, resume their lives and their coexistence with nature.

Our immediate relief work is over, but, we are not stopping here. Team GWT is planning for a Sustainable Livelihood Project in Phansad. This project will not help just the tribals but also reduce the pressure on the surrounding forest of Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary. Green Works Trust is now in the planning phase of this mammoth project.