Bengaluru

Bengaluru, for Kerala and Kodagu

How the city came together to aid relief and rescue operations in Kerala and the Kodagu region

As of August 17, over 3.1 lakh people, who are now living in over 2,094 relief camps, have been displaced by the Kerala floods (parts of Idukki and Chengannur in Alappuzha are still cut-off) . Help is pouring in from neighbouring states. Bengalureans have also stepped up, pooling in relief material and offering aid through technology.

Communication-based enterprises such as Askerbot and Exotel are working together to help set up high-availability support centres in several locations. The lines are being run by a group of volunteers to coordinate rescue efforts in the State (080-488-16994).

“We are passing any calls we get to rescue groups in Kerala. The lines are running 24/7, we are currently working out of Koramangala. We need more volunteers to man the lines,” says Ipsita, one of the volunteers.

Anbodu Kochi, a non-profit organisation that is working to aid in relief operations, has collaborated with various agencies in the city to set up collection centres, the details of which can be found on their Facebook page. An executive working at the collection centre operating out of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Indiranagar confirmed that the centre is still accepting relief material. “We are sending supplies by air to Coimbatore and by road from there to Kochi,” the representative said.

CII has also set up a collection centre in Mysore to help send supplies to Wayanad in Kerala and the flood-hit region of Kodagu in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru-based citizen groups, such as The Blue Umbrella, have also set-up relief material collection centres across the city, sending aid to various parts of Kerala through accessible roads.

“We have sent out a list of aid material required through social media and are collecting material through various collection centres set-up across the city. We sent one truck on Friday containing basic medicines, water bottles, rusk and biscuits, sanitary napkins and clothes to Wayanad and Palakkad. We will be sending more trucks. We need biscuits, milk powder, medicines, and water, most urgently. We are sending 6,000 litres of water from Tamil Nadu, largely from Erode and Pollachi for more efficient transportation. We need more support, in terms of ground volunteers both here and in Kerala to coordinate the efforts and routes (currently to Thiruvananthapuram) . Also, we would like those who are sending relief material, not to send used clothes or plastic packets containing milk or water,” says Saravanan Arumugam, founder of Bengaluru-based Farmzilla.com and one of the core volunteers of The Blue Umbrella (9840880558).

City-based journalist Sandhya Menon has been actively working through Twitter (@TheRestlessQuill) to coordinate the supply of relief material.

She is working with a Wayanad-based NGO as well as The Blue Umbrella.

“We have raised ₹4.5 lakhs so far, via Twitter. We are working to buy, collect and deliver relief material from across the city, and have been sending aid to Wayanad, through Mysore and Gudalur. Right now we are getting reports that there is enough in terms of blankets and food in some of those regions, in some time there will be a need for medication. Going forward, we will need volunteers, funding, and medication for rehabilitation as well as essentials such as undergarments,” she says, adding that they are also looking to send food, books, and stationery to the Adivasi children in Wayanad.

Raj Bhagat P, a senior project associate with the World Resources Institute has brought out maps of flood-affected regions such as Palakkad and Kodagu, through satellite imaging to help people navigate these regions better.

“These are open source images from the European Space Agency, the problem is that satellites will take a few more days to come back. The other way around this is through drones, which we are planning to send in Kodagu, to understand where there are landslides or where there is stagnant water. We need volunteers to assist the Karnataka Revenue Department with this. The Kodagu region is also facing the same level of damage as Kerala,” he explains.

“It would be helpful if there is collaboration between tech innovators in Bengaluru and the governments to respond better to the situation. For instance, SOS messages in coordination with mobile network service providers.”

Global organizations such as Aarogya Seva (Global Health Volunteer Alliance), which have their India headquarters in Bengaluru, are also working to provide targeted medical relief in Kerala.

They are also sending aid material through their India headquarters located in Jayanagar.

“Our doctors take first-hand information on the ground and work based on requirement. They are currently operating in the state. We are also looking at rehabilitation, both during and after the floods,” says GG Kulkarni, Chief Coordinator for the organization in Bengaluru (9448041257).

“We are focussing on medical and heath related supplies, right now in Alleppey district especially the camp site in Christian College, Chengannur and parts of Coorg. We need Women’s Hygiene kits, boots, water purifying tablets, non-perishable foods including baby products and insulin for diabetics. We also need medication for people with chronic illness who need daily medication. We have teams of doctors and health workers on standby to be deployed as necessary. We will be sending these supplies by road to our partner organizations coordinated by our volunteers on the field. The drop off point is our center in Jayanagar. We will have a few other collection centers next week,” adds Dr Dayaprasad G Kulkarni, of Aarogya Seva (Call 9048471234).

(With inputs from Sooraj Rajmohan)

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 9:39:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/kerala-floods-how-bengaluru-helped/article24725815.ece

Next Story