Kerala are witnessing their worst floods in almost a century and the entire nation has come together to ease the pain of God’s Own Country. The nature’s fury has seen a loss of five hundred civilians while a number are being reported missing each passing day. The scare of epidemics have increased after the rains have subsided with a number of patients reported with Rat-fever and other communicable diseases.
Heavy rains which started on August 8 has seen widespread loss of life and property. An estimated loss of INR 19,500 crore has been identified. The floods which have bee the worst since the 1924 floods in the state has put the entire region on red alert. Transport services have been badly affected with both air and train services suspended. Northern district of Kerala are critically low on even the availability of clean water.
The Central Government launched massive relief operations after the Cabinet Secretary together with senior officers of Defence Services, NDRF, NDMA conducted meetings with Kerala Chief Secretary. In corresponding actions and what became one of India’s biggest relief and rescue operations, 40 helicopters, 31 aircrafts, 182 teams, 16 medical teams, 58 NDRF teams and 7 companies of Central Armed Police Force were deployed along with 500 boats. Local Fishermen came out in huge numbers to support the relief teams, more than 4500 fish workers helped in rescue operations with 669 boats. They rescued almost 65000 people from different parts of the country.
Extensive digital initiative and campaigns were setup by the government, NGOs and private companies in the follow up of the natural disaster. While the Prime Minister announced an immediate relief fund of INR 500 crore in addition to INR 560 crores allotted to the SDRF and INR 100 crore sanctioned by the Home Minister. This was an intermediate relief with government assuring more relief funds after damages have been successfully analysed.
The Govt. Of Kerala started an online donation website which helped raise INR 1031 crores as on August 31. Different states also came together with a combined relief fund of INR 212 crores.
Corporates joined hand-in-hand with the government and NGOs to setup donations on their platforms and help out with the relief ad rescue operations. Big players like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm integrated donation links on their websites and app.
Major Oil companies(BPCL, HPCL, IOCL) of the country also donated a combined sum of INR 25 crore. Star India created a campaign coming together with superstars like Kamal Hasan, Irfan Pathan and Arjun Kapur in a series of TV commercials urging people to donate generously. The campaign gained huge traction all around the country and people came out in large numbers for donations.
While donations have been pouring in from all around the country, the ground work from volunteers and NGOs have touched and saved millions of lives. ‘Goonj’, an NGO has been at the fore front of relief operations with volunteers supplying relief materials collected from all over the country to the worst affected areas. Volunteers have been working tirelessly arranging and transporting these relief materials in addition to helping out in relief operations. Relief material counters have been setup in almost all mojor cities of the country asking people to donate things useful in daily life like utensils, candles, match-boxes, food supplies, etc.
Goonj also partnered up with BigBasket which created a special donation kit worth INR 146 with essential items. Zomato also teamed up with Akshay Patra Foundation to ease the distress of Keralites.
The relief and rescue operations for the Kerala floods have been one of the biggest disaster relief operations in the country’s history. Government, Non-government and private institutions have all come together creating massive awareness programs, digital campaigns and providing relief materials to the state. The selfless community service has moved a lot of people and urged them to donate whole-heartedly.
While the rains have subsided in the region, Kerala is still far from coming back on its feet. The huge loss of lives cannot be countered however a small step from each one of us could prove to be a long way in helping out those in distress and pain. #AllForKerala