Chapter 6 – Weathering the Storm in Ersama
Think About It
1. What havoc has the super cyclone wreaked in the life of the people of Orissa?
The super cyclone devastated everything in Orissa. Majority of the houses had blown away by the strong winds and rains. Muddy water covered everything as far as the eye could see. Many people lost their lives. Bloated animal carcasses and human corpses floated in every direction. Even the strongest of the trees had been uprooted. People became homeless. Children lost their parents and became orphans. There was a shortage of food and drinking water. People were sad and helpless. The scenes were gruesome and heart-wrenching.
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2. How has Prashant, a teenager, been able to help the people of his village?
Prashant, who was a teenager decided to help the people of his village by stepping in as a leader. He organized a group of youths and elders to jointly pressurize the merchant to given rice for the people living in the shelter. After this, he organized a team of youth volunteers to clean the shelter and to tend wounds and fractures of the many who had been injured.
Prashant found that a large number of children had been orphaned. He brought them together and constructed a polythene shelter for them. Then he organised cricket matches for children.
Women were mobilized to look after the orphan kids, while the men secured food and other essentials for the shelter. When he realised that the women were becoming too grief-stricken, he persuaded them to start working in the food-for-work programme, which was started by an NGO.
3. How have the people of the community helped one another? What role do the women of Kalikuda play during these days?
The people of the community came together to help one another under the leadership of Prashant. They jointly started the relief work. They pressurised the merchant to part with his rice for the people in the shelter. They gathered branches from fallen trees to lit a fire, on which they cooked rice for all to eat.
When the military helicopter did not return after dropping some food parcels, the youth task force made the children lie in the sand with the empty utensils on their stomachs to communicate to the passing helicopters that they were hungry. This formula worked well and the helicopter started making regular rounds of the shelter to drop food and other basic needs.
Women were mobilized to look after the orphans, while the men secured food and other essentials for the shelter. Women started working in the food-for-work programme started by an NGO.
4. Why do Prashant and other volunteers resist the plan to set up institutions for orphans and widows? What alternatives do they consider?
Prashant and the other volunteers resisted the plan to set up separate institutions for orphans and widows because they felt that in such institutions children will grow up without love and affection and widows would suffer from stigma and loneliness.
Prashant and his group suggested that the children and widows should be resettled in their own community where they can get a homely environment. They suggested setting up of foster families
made up of childless widows and children without adult care.
5. Do you think Prashant is a good leader? Do you think young people can get together to help people during natural calamities?
Yes, there is no doubt that Prashant is a very good leader. He has all the qualities of a leader. Though he himself was grief-stricken, he got a hold of himself and decided to initiate the relief work in the village. He helped the people of his village in every possible manner to bring their lives back on the track. He is full of energy and has great motivational power.
Yes, young people can definitely get together to help people during natural calamities. Youth is the power of a society who can use their strength and vigour to help people in need.
Weathering the Storm in Ersama Extra Questions and Answers Class 9 English Moments
Weathering the Storm in Ersama Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type
Why had Prashant gone to Ersama? What happened there?
He had gone to Ersama to spend a day with a friend. He was caught in a terrible cyclonic storm, the likes of which he had never been a witness to.
Describe the storm that hit Ersama on the 27th of October, 1999?
It was a dark and menacing storm which had a terrific wind velocity of 350kms/hr. It was accompanied by heavy and incessant rain flooding the whole area.
How long did the cyclone last? How did Prashant and his friend’s family spend the stormy night?
The cyclone continued for almost thirty six hours. They spent the night sitting on the roof of the house in the open, because water had filled into the house.
How was his friend’s family luckier than the rest of the villagers?
His friend’s family had a strong house made of brick and mortar which was able to withstand the fury of the wind, even though coconut trees had fallen onto the roof, damaging it. However, these trees provided the family with food till they were rescued.
Describe the scene that met Prashant’s horrified eyes in the morning at Ersama?
It was a devastating sight. A raging, deadly brown sheet of water covered everything as far as the eye could see. Only a few fractured cement houses still stood. Bloated human corpses and animal carcasses floated in every direction.
How long did Prashant stay at his friend’s house? What were the thoughts that kept disturbing him?
He stayed at his friend’s house for two more days. The only thought that kept disturbing him was whether his family had survived the calamity or if he was going to lose his loved ones once again.
Why did the two days seem like two years to Prashant?
As he sat on the rooftop of his friend’s damaged house, unable to venture back home through the rain and flooded roads, he felt helpless and worried about his family back in his village. He was so keen to return to them that the two days seemed like two years to him.
What made Prashant venture out from the safety of his friend’s house in the dangerous situation?
Prashant was worried that his family may have been swept away in his village, and he was determined to find out what had happened to them without any further delay.
How did Prashant prepare himself for the long trek home?
He took a sturdy stick and then started on his eighteen kilometre long expedition back to his village, wading through the swollen flood waters.
What were the dangers faced by Prashant on his way back to his village? How did he face them?
The whole path back to his village was under water. He used his stick to determine the shallow parts that he could walk on. At places, he had to wade through waist deep water.
What did Prashant see on his way back home?
He saw a number of dead bodies of humans and animals floating in the flood water. He also saw that several villages had been entirely destroyed, where not even a single house remained standing.
Why did Prashant’s heart sink on reaching his village?
His heart sank on seeing the extent of damage that his village had sustained. He saw only the remains of the roof of his house in place of the house. Some of the family belongings were caught in the nearby branches of trees. His family was nowhere to be seen.
Where did Prashant go to look for his family? Who did he spot first?
Prashant went to the Red Cross shelter to look for his family. He spotted his grandmother first.
Why did his grandmother rush towards Prashant?
She rushed towards him out of joy at seeing him alive. She considered it a miracle that he was safe and sound and had been restored to the family.
Who were the family members that Prashant found at the shelter?
He found his grandmother, his brother, sister, his uncles and aunts at the shelter.
What was the extent of damage caused by the storm in Prashant’s village?
Eighty six lives had been lost in the village, and ninety six houses had been washed away in the village.
Why did Prashant decide to step in and lead the villagers?
Prashant realised that the people at the shelter were being engulfed by a deathly grief and there wasn’t enough food for the survivors. He also realised that someone had to show the people a way out of the situation and gain control over their feelings and emotions.
What was the first successful mission organised by the group of villagers under Prashant’s leadership?
The first mission was to pressurise the village merchant to part with his rice so that the hungry villagers could be fed.
After feeding the survivors, what was the next task organised and fulfilled by Prashant?
He organised a team of volunteers to clean the shelter of filth, urine, vomit and floating carcasses, and to take care of the wounds nad fractures of the many who had been injured.
What was the event that took place on the fourth day at the camp?
On this day, a military helicopter flew over the shelter and dropped some food parcels on the ground close to the shelter.
Why did Prashant ask the children to lie on the sand with utensils on their stomachs?
He did this so that the helicopter pilots would see them and drop down the food packets for them.
How did Prashant help the orphaned children?
He brought them together and put up a polythene sheet shelter for them. Women were mobilised to look after them while the men got food and materials to build the shelter.
How did Prashant help the women to overcome their grief?
He did this by persuading them to start working in the food-for-work programme started by an NGO.
Why was Prashant not keen to send the orphans and widows to government institutions?
He was against this idea as he felt that in such institutions, children would grow up without love, and widows would suffer from stigma and loneliness.
How did Prashant’s wounded spirit heal?
It healed because he was so busy making sure that the victims were taken care of by various government agencies and NGOs that he had no time to worry about his own loss and pain.
Weathering the Storm in Ersama Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type
What havoc had the super cyclone wrecked in the lives of the people of Orissa?
The super cyclone caused great damage and destruction, leaving hundreds of men, women, children and animals dead or injured. It blew away houses, brought down trees and wiped out entire villages. The whole area was submerged in water. Family members were separated and it left behind many orphans and widows. In addition, people had to go without food for days together.
How has Prashant, a teenager, been able to help the people of his village?
Prashant took over the responsibility of leading the village. He was instrumental in organising the survivors into groups to cook, clean, and rebuild the village from scratch. He supervised the building of shelters and made sure that people who were wounded and injured received adequate medical help.
He also made sure that the orphans and widows were not packed off to impersonal foster care at government institutions, but resettled them in their own community, in new foster families made up of widows taking care of the orphans. He also organised cricket matches and other sports events to bring some joy into the lives of the children and persuaded the women to work in the food-for-work programme started by an NGO.
How did the people of the community help one another? What role did the women of Kalikuda play during these days?
First of all, they worked as a team under the leadership of Prashant. They helped him in pressurising the local merchant to part with rice to feed the survivors. They cooked food by collecting branches from fallen trees. They cleaned the shelter of filth, urine, vomit and floating carcasses and took care of the people with wounds and injuries. They also helped to create new foster families made up of childless widows and children without adult care. The women also worked with an NGO in their food-for-work programme.
Why did Prashant and the other volunteers resist the plan to set up institutions for orphans and widows? What alternatives did they consider?
Prashant and the other volunteers were aware of the stigma attached to being sent to the government institutions, and the loneliness that the widows would have to suffer there. Similarly, the orphans would have to live a life away from their roots, at the mercy of people who would not be sensitive to their emotional needs. To solve this problem, they came up with the brilliant idea of creating foster families where the childless widows would care for the orphaned children, thereby fulfilling their mutual emotional needs.
Do you think Prashant is a good leader? Do you think young people can get together to help people during natural calamities?
Undoubtedly, Prashant is a born leader, which he proves by helping the people of Kalikuda village. He helps them to literally rise from the debris of a super cyclonic storm that had almost wiped out the whole village. He leads by example, selflessly identifying the most urgent needs and working to fulfil them. In the process, he puts aside his own grief and suffering, in trying to find relief and help for the other survivors.
He gauges the falling spirits of the village people and gets them to work manually to remove the debris, rebuild structures, and ensure that the people get something to eat. In a bid to help his people, he even forgets about his own loss, pain and grief. He finds a brilliant solution for the care of those left widowed or orphaned, by creating foster families with childless widows looking after orphaned children. From his example, we can see that it is possible for young people to work together and make a huge difference to the entire community in situations like natural calamities.