IMPACT
06/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

One Million Left Homeless In India After Devastating Cyclone

After a devastating cyclone ripped through the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal last week, an estimated one million people have been left homeless.

The storm, which brought rains and intense winds of up to 75 miles an hour, claimed 137 lives and tore apart over 200,000 homes in impoverished, rural villages. Reuters reports the twister is also responsible for destroying the local economy, killing livestock and ruining an estimated $4 million worth of crops.

Catholic Relief Services is on the ground in India, bringing supplies to families affected by the cyclone.

"Most people are living out in the open amidst the wreckage of the their homes," said Amarendra Ghana, program officer for the Catholic Relief Services in West Bengal's North Dinajpur district.

"We have started distributing shelter kits in both districts which include tarpaulin sheets, plastic mats, rope, matchboxes and candles, but the need is great and much, much more is required."

To contribute to Catholic Relief Services' ongoing work, supporters can donate online and specify their funds for cyclone relief in India. Americares is also sending relief supplies to the Indian states devastated by the twister. Donations can be made online to their international disaster relief fund.