India's poor face grim rebuilding task after cyclone

India's poor face grim rebuilding task after cyclone
Indian children help their mother carry bricks to rebuild their damaged house following Cyclone Phailin in Gopalpur on October 14, 2013.

GOPALPUR,India - Sitting on a wall of his collapsed one-room house in eastern India, B. Chinnaya reflects on the devastation that Cyclone Phailin wrought on his once vibrant fishing village.

"I built this house with my own hands, with my own hard earned money," Chinnaya said as he tried to replace the tin roof.

"When I came back to the village, I couldn't help but break down into tears. All that hard work got washed away," he said.

Chinnaya was among the one million residents from across Orissa and neighbouring states who fled to shelters on Saturday to escape the ferocious storm which uprooted trees, mangled power powers and flattened homes.

While the biggest evacuation in Indian history was hailed for minimising loss of life, already poor fishermen and farmers have returned to their villages this week to discover the few possessions they had have been destroyed.

With both of his small, wooden fishing boats snapped in half by the cyclone's storm surge and powerful winds, and no savings to repair them, Chinnaya was blunt about his future.

'No boat, no fish'

"No boat means no fish. No fish, no money," Chinnaya told AFP in Gopalpur village, in the heart of the cyclone zone.

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