Bangalore Claretians responded soon as thousand four hundred families were provided with a food kit for their survival for ten days through Project Vision under the banner of 'Bangalore Cares for Kerala' last Saturday and Sunday in the flood ravaged Wayanad district of Kerala.
As floods have affected large number of lives in several parts of the country covering Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Assam, Kerala was in a greater problem due to the fact it was getting affected second year in a row. People who has lost everything were just getting back to their normal life, sticking together pieces of whatever was left, when floods hit again in the same fatal month of August this year. Project Vision which was just exiting from its disaster intervention since last one year, again moved to action immediately.
Project Vision volunteers were immediately in the field to identify the needs of the affected people. A total of 255,051 people were in the 1341 relief camps across Kerala. Fatalities amounted to 120, mostly due to landslides in Malappuram and Wayanad Districts.
Wayanad was the district of our focus of work and the district had 196 relief camps in which 35,878 people had taken refuge in. Unlike the previous year, a great organisational strength was shown by the government which ensured good care in most of the relief camps. Therefore our focus shifted to the people when they return home and to those who did not have to go to the relief camps, but had lost everything. They also did not have any job and income to sustain their families.
Having discussed with large number of people who were affected, we decided to provide them with a food kit, as they return to their ‘empty houses’. We made a list of twenty essential items as suggested by the affected families that included five kilos of rice, one kilo each of dal, pulses, sugar, salt and all other items for them to sustain for a week including a bucket. Each kit cost us Rs. 1000.
We called for public support to raise funds. Big Family a group based in Chennai under the leadership of Mr Soy Joseph provided 150 kits. Ms Shirley and partners from Fixotech company sponsored 100 kits. The St Joseph’s of Tarbes Sisters helped with 50 kits. The biggest contribution came from Mr Alphons Kannanthanam and friends in Delhi who contributed 250 kits. Fr Jovial from Calicut got the Kochi Airport staff to come and distribute 100 kits and the Cochin income tax department to give away 200 kits. There were many individuals who contributed to the cause. We could mobilise enough resources to help 1400 families.
Mr Prathish and his CEREN wholesale company came to our help by getting all we required directly from the company at the production cost. Twenty five of his staff spent four hours each for three days after their work and a full Sunday to pack the materials into small quantities for each family.They were glad to be part of a life giving mission.
Fr Thomas Therakam and the St Sebastian’s Church at Edappetty opened the Church campus for us to store and pack all the materials. The parish volunteers made family kits of all the materials that were sent in bulk by packing them in sacks or the buckets.
Our staff on ground Mr Sibu George and Ms Simi Mathew coordinated with the community to identify the most needed groups in different areas. Ms Usha Kumari, the former zilla Panchayath President took us personally to the tribal communities in the banks of Kabini river. Mr Anes, a businessman in Panamaram, organised to gather in a resort all the affected families. Mr George Edavaka and Ms Usha Vijayan Edavaka panchayat president, coordinated the biggest distribution to 500 families at Kallodi near Mananthavadi.
Special attention was given to the tribal communities and the persons with disabilities. Hundred kits were reserved for the families with persons with disabilities. Fr George Kannanthanam and Fr Mario Zalki went to each of the twelve locations across Wayanad District to distribute the food kits to the families.
Fr George reminded in every place of distribution to the people receiving the kits that they are taking a responsibility upon themselves as they receive the kit to repay the same support to someone in their community in their moment of trouble.
“Most satisfying days of my life as we could personally provide the kits that would enable them to have a secure life for sometime.” Fr George
Project Vision had made 330 temporary shelters and 25 permanent houses for flood affected in 2018.
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