After the Flood: Rise Against Hunger India and Local Community Members Provide Relief

by Amal Devaraj

Kerala is the southern part of India. In the mid of August 2018, major areas in Kerala witnessed heavy rainfall continuously for more than a week. All the lakes, rivers and other water bodies were filled and it became severe as the water started overflowing into the land areas.

I hail from a place called Kuttanad. The people here depend on agriculture, poultry and fishing. Kuttanad is a low lying area below sea level. Due to its topography, it is flood prone, with the recent flood being very severe. The water level rose above 15 feet. Entire herds of livestock were submerged. Fishing boats and fishing nets were destroyed. Houses were totally and partially destroyed. Bodies of water were contaminated due to carcasses of livestock. Mud and sludge, as well as waterborne reptiles like snakes, entered into the houses. My house was totally submerged. I saw miseries and relentless calls from my neighbors to save them from this unforeseen calamity. I could not sit at home watching all these miseries, and I offered voluntarily to work for disaster recovery.

The first priority was to get people to safer places. Myself and a team of fishermen worked relentlessly day and night to move the people from affected areas. This included the elderly, sick, children and women. Our teamwork paid off and we were able to move the people to safer places.

Later, people were moved to relief camps. Access to food and medical facilities were our major challenges. Our request to provide this was heard by Mr. Dola Mohapatra, Executive Director of Rise Against Hunger India. He instructed his team, along with their affiliate, Society for Action in Community Health (SACH), to act immediately. They provided the following assistance:

Distributed food packs for 3,500 families

Coordinated 30 medical camps, which were a great relief for the people here, and to a very large extent, this helped to contain the wider spread of diseases. Our next challenge was contaminated water due to flooding. Our people suffered as they were unable to acquire drinking water. Again, Rise Against Hunger India came to our help. They provided a 40,000 liter capacity R.O. (reverse osmosis) plant. The plant was inaugurated by G.Sudhakaran, Minister of State for the Public Works Department. This has been a very important milestone. Due to the tremendous response received from the public, Rise Against Hunger India has promised to provide additional R.O. plants to cater to the entire village.

There are around 50 fishermen whose boats and fishing nets were damaged in flood. Rise Against Hunger India has also promised to provide us the required boats and fishing nets, which will help the fishermen to earn their daily living.

Around 50 houses have been damaged by the floods. We are looking forward to repairing these houses with the help of Rise Against Hunger India.

I personally have to thank Rise Against Hunger India for their impeccable efforts to help us during this most distressing period. On behalf of myself and the entire community of Kuttanad, I would like profoundly thank the entire Rise Against Hunger India team and their affiliates.

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