Me and my family were glued to the News channels. It was hard to watch what the Nature has done to this beautiful state. The scenes all over the news brought back some memories. Thoughts pondered my mind. I remembered the Chennai floods. It was nothing compared to what Kerala faced, but just 2 days of heavy rain drowned Chennai. People were stuck inside their homes without power. No communication, no transportation, no food, no shops. Kids suffered without milk. Low lying areas were completely immersed in water. People left everything behind in their homes and went to higher grounds to save themselves. There was water everywhere. Offices and schools were shut down. The city stopped functioning. There wasn’t much that could be done. The entire city was flooded because of Chembarambakkam lake. Everyone was hoping for the rains to stop. Two floors of underground parking in my office building were sitting under water. Not even a single vehicle was spared that day. You can imagine how bad it was when boats were used on roads for rescue operations. 2 days later the rains subsided. The relief operations started. The city got support from a large number of volunteers from within as well as from other districts. Relief materials kept coming and coming from everywhere to the affected areas.
My friends also made a small team to supply relief materials. I went to help them pack the materials and distribute them. I still remember that day. I was sitting with my friend behind the loaded tempo truck and it stopped in a signal. A police man in jeep stopped nearby. He enquired where we were from and which place we were going to supply the relief materials. He also told he didn’t eat from the previous night. We just handed over him a snack parcel from the truck and left. So many of them came forward to help during the crisis. Chennai was resurrected back by the overwhelming response from the people who came forward to help.
Today I can only visualize how worse Kerala is affected. This is so bad when compared to what Chennai faced. 13 out of the 14 districts in Kerala were declared red alert zone. Kerala has around 40 dams out of which 30 to 35 were opened to let the excess water out. Imagine the situation where there is constant rainfall and top of that 30 dams being opened at the same time! There were land slides everywhere. Estimated death toll was 450 plus approximately. People were stranded in their homes surrounded by water. It took a while for the central government to realize the situation and deploy army and navy for relief operations. The roads and train routes were totally cut off. People were not able to travel in or out of the state. Every school became a relief center. My Kerala colleagues in office were hunting websites to book tickets to get back to their family. All trains were cancelled and airports shut down. There was no means by which they could reach back to their homes. Boats were transferred from coastal regions to help with the rescue operations.
As soon as the intensity of the disaster was understood, more help started coming. The CM of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan announced that any possible means of help was welcome. Neighboring states has started sending relief materials. Actors, politicians, business officials from all over the country started contributing. I had no words when I heard the news of a kid who came forward to lend her piggy bank savings of Rs.8000 to Kerala which she had saved for the past 4 years to buy a cycle. Things like these show how different we are from the kids. It doesn’t have to be something big. You don’t have to feel that your contribution is no match to what others do. Even your small contribution will make a huge difference. You can do it as an individual or as a group. But I urge everyone of you to contribute.
Kerala has suffered a major disaster and it is not going to be easy to recover back soon. But with help coming all around, let us all hope and pray that it will get restored back to its glory. You can do your contribution directly to the Kerala’s Distress relief fund by visiting this website – CM Distress Relief Fund
“We can’t help Everyone, but Everyone can help Someone” – Ronald Reagan