Factory-like precision at a mega relief centre

Over 1.5 lakh packets of food have been packed at Sri Rama Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai. —Photo: V. Ganesan

Over 1.5 lakh packets of food have been packed at Sri Rama Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai. —Photo: V. Ganesan

The day starts around 7.30 a.m. for Shyam Sundar and Sukanya Ravi and ends only after 9.30 p.m. The two volunteers, who help coordinate dispatch of food packets, are part of a team of hundreds working at Chennai Rain Relief 2015’s coordination centre, operating out of Sri Rama Kalyana Mandapam made available by Ramsahaimal Sahuwala and Sons Charitable Trust.

Run by several NGOs and residents, who got together in the wake of the floods, the centre distributes food, dry ration and survival kits and was also involved in coordinating rescue efforts.

The compound is divided into sections – one area receives donations, at another calls are manned and documentation done, cooking takes place in one area and packing in another. Volunteers mill about with notebooks, phones are constantly ringing and residents keep dropping in to make requests for food and supplies.

“The packing is like an assembly line. We receive the orders for the day, which are first verified, and then food is sent out to be distributed. After 3 p.m., we start on the dinner orders. It goes on till about 11 p.m.,” says Shyam, a third-year college student.

Over 1.5 lakh packets of food have been distributed so far and efforts are being made to give out kits with clothes, cooking utensils and other items to families. Communication has always been crucial – a WhatsApp group, a Facebook page and Twitter were the primary means used, says Latha Subramaniam, programme manager, Bhoomika Trust, one of the NGOs involved.

Eventually, says P. Jayendra, trustee, Bhoomika Trust, the plan is to go to affected areas and assess needs for long-term rehabilitation.

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 11:27:10 am |