Mission Rahat - Tamil Nadu
Reliance Foundation swiftly acted upon the news of floods in Tamil Nadu and deputed a 28 member relief team which reached the affected area on 4th December 2015. The personal loses of many of the Reliance volunteers including the mission leader Senthil Kumaran couldn’t deter the team to work day in and out to help the people in Tamil Nadu to reel out of the flood fury.
Mission Rahat team immediately got in touch with the district and state administration to identify areas where no aid had reached. However, the situation was grim as whopping 1,218 mm of incessant rains followed by thunderstorm drowned the city of Chennai and the neighbouring districts. What looked like normal rains for the season initially, turned out to be a disaster of the highest order with water logging all around. Connectivity became a challenge with the road, rail and airways impaired and inflow of commodities from outside stopped. Failure of electricity and mobile communications further complicated the matter. Nobody had ever imagined the bustling city of Chennai will face such a devastating day.
Army and other rescue teams did their job in terms of rescuing people and minimizing the chances of high casualties. Despite the efforts, the flash floods claimed around 250 lives as per official estimates. A loss of more than Rs.15,000 crores brought the state and the nation in the grip of fear and panic. Many lost their homes and some of them lost almost everything they owned. In villages, the story was even grimmer. The mud houses with thatched roofs gave way to the floods rendering many to resorting to school buildings and community shelters for safety. Everything they owned got washed away in these floods. The government was quick to prioritise issues of health and sanitation to avoid any disease outbreak and restoration of electricity. To improve the coordination some of experienced administrative officers were placed at the district headquarters. Quick relief and rehabilitation measures were the need of the hour to ensure safety and well-being of all.
Team reached out to the water logged slum areas on the outskirts of Chennai, provided drinking water and ready to eat food items. Simultaneously, the team conducted extensive surveys of the villages as suggested by the government to identify the neediest people. Based on these surveys, 51 villages were identified in Chennai, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts for support.
Food materials, utensils, bed sheets, mats and tarpaulin tents were sourced from various location to help the people affected. Nearly 214 volunteers from across Reliance rallied together for procurement, packaging and distribution of relief material. The quality of the relief material, the inclusive processes for distributing the relief kits and the efforts of the team in reaching out to the unreached was widely appreciated by the communities, media and the government officials. As the flow of information through media increased, the list of villages and districts added. The team overall was able to reach out to 25,101 families majorly in Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Cuddalore, and Chennai districts including distribution of 400 shelter kits across the 18 districts.
The stagnant water gave rise to a lot of water borne diseases. A team of five Reliance Foundation doctors were flown in along with medicines to carry out medical camps in remote locations. 3,471 people were treated in 13 medical camps held across these districts. The flood water did not spare the livestock who also needed attention. A number of cases of “foot rot” and “foot & mouth disease" were reported. The Reliance Foundation relief team collaborated with the Animal Husbandry department of Tamil Nadu and conducted 17 camps for treating the livestock. Reliance Foundation provided medicines and much needed efforts to organise the community and the department provided the doctors and support staff. Over ten thousand animals were treated during these camps.
Moved by the initiative, Reliance Jio team of Andhra Pradesh made a personal contribution of Rs. 3.54 lakhs to support 2,178 school students in 9 schools for books and stationaries. A private operator shared 3,000 poly woven bed sheets (use and throw bed sheets) which were handed over to the PHC (primary health centres) in Cuddalore district. Reliance Foundation also extended support to 64 PHC’s in the form of bed sheet, mats and in-patients medicines.
Muthukumarasamy from Kurinjipadi village of Cuddalore District nicely sums up the relief operations with his words, “It’s a great feeling to have someone who cares. Reliance Foundation is presently visiting our village to provide quality ration in sufficient quantity. No one else has reached us.” Such expressions of gratitude are the real rewards for the Reliance Foundation Mission Rahat team.
Mission Rahat - Tamil Nadu Relief Stats
85,522No of people Supported