Reporting from ground zero – Kerala Floods

From the ground (20.08.2018)

Smile Foundation’s team finally reached Calicut and immediately visited areas of Mananthavady, Kammana, Nedumpala, Kappukunum, Pulikad, Koilori, Varinilam where we conducted 3 community meetings. It was a sad plight to see the conditions the state was going through. The distress level was too high and much needed support was expected from the people of Kerala.

The Tribal Mission NGO came to visit the team and accepted to collaborate for our further operations.Dr. N Sadanandam, DHMS doctor providing medical service along with his wife came forward to interact and gathered information about our strategies in helping the affected people.

Later on we came in touch with Pastor Sunil of Tribal Mission (second in-charge) who enlisted 5 villages who were in need of Health care services, basic clothes and Food Kits( 2000 families), with 1600 families being from Adiya, Paniya, Kurunchiya and Kurnmar tribes.

The team met Pastor Vinod Kammana who enlisted 4 villages which needed 100 food kits. These were the places which needed maximum attention.

For immediate assistance we supplied dried fire wood for a private relief camp based at hostel, Kammana, which will suffice for 2 weeks. Tomorrow we will be giving food kits to 50 families at Dasanakara and food kits for 50 families at Eruluam (tribal community). Both of these places are in the vicinity of Pullapaly (30 Kms radius).

 

We happen to meet Aachan, 81 years old and sole survivor in his family. He lost his wife and both his sons in the landslide. We are grieved to see him heartbroken and pray for his well being

From The ground (21.08.2018)

The second day of the rescue operations our team was stationed at Irulam, Dasanakara, Cheyambam and Kolaratukunnu villages. Even though it was exhausting for them they were moved by the obstacles and struggles the people were going through. The team on ground worked with the belief that they should alleviate their troubles and get them back to their feet.

Three community meetings were held to access the needs of the residents. The key requirements raised are:

– Support to school going kids

– Need of Note books, Pens/Pencils, Umbrella, Geometry box, School bags, and A4 size papers for about 400 kids in all the areas which were visited.

Then the team visited Irulam and supported 50 families with food kits and another set of 50 families with food were supported in Dasanakara.  They had reached Cheyambam and finalized the need to provide 100 food kits as immediate requirement. The same was to be provided the next day.

We had to follow up with Mr. Jacob for food kits distribution and Health camps. We finalise to conduct three health camps covering 5 villages and distribution of kits to 450 families of Adiya, Pani, Kurnuchiya and Kurnmar tribes of Mananthavady Mandal, Wayanad.

Following up with Mr. Vinod, Kammana, they enlisted 4 villages and finalized the need of 50 food kits same would be provided on 23.08.2018

The volunteers interacted with the community and identified the need to support 300 families with food kits in Kolaratukunnu area. Our heartiest gratitude to all the volunteers who are working round the clock with Smile Foundation’s Disaster Response Team on ground to provide relief aid reaches to those who need it the most. Many of these volunteers have faced the wrath of the floods themselves; have lost their homes, property and livelihood. But this has not stopped them from reaching out to help the other survivors.

As the day went by the team was more worried for the children because as the water recedes there will be air borne and water borne diseases floating around. As there was lack of proper sanitation due to the floods we have to give more importance towards the health.

 

The only way i could earn for my family was through farming and now i am left with nothing. Even my house is damaged and can’t be accommodated. I request help and support from the ones who are willing – Mathew

 From the ground: 22.08.2018

 Third day of the stay and the water seems to be slowly receding. There are slight rains and showers but the floods seem to calm down. Undeterred by continuous rains, the Smile Team on ground in Kerala, along with dedicated volunteers, are reaching out to the cut-off villages Mathamangalam, Cheyambam, Irulam in the Wayanad district.

The flood and recurring landslides have caused havoc in the lives of families here – broken homes, uprooted families make for a heart wrenching sight. As flood waters have started receding, people have started putting together their homes and their lives.

In the first phase of its relief operations, Smile Foundation is distributing food and other necessary supplies to over 10,000 flood affected families in Kerala.

Our team on ground would be exploring more are at the regions of Pullapaly and aim to provide 100 food kits at Cheyambam.

Along with Mr.James (local representative) we would be visiting new areas – Thalapada, Makimalla, Khambamalla and Periya of Mananthavady Mandal, Wayanad.

These are Landslide affected areas.  The main objective of the visits would be exploring the short and long term plans for relief and Rehabilitation. The teams would try to meet the government officials to understand the common community amenity needs for Rehabilitation and also with local leaders and people for individual support.

 

 

That night was terrifying. Had it not been for the surpanch my entire family would have drowned. The water is not at all drinkable and I am helpless how to feed my children. I have lost everything – Ullipi Amma

 

To support our efforts on the ground, visit www.smilefoundationindia.org/keralarelief

 

 

 

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Author

Akanksha Rawat

Akanksha works as Manager, Communication with Smile Foundation.

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