Free Mobility Equipments to Flood Victims
“We are not able to get through to my parents. They are aged, ailing and alone. Can someone please find out?” The distress call was from a worried son in the US about his aged parents living in Thrissur, on the morning of 16th August 2018, as Kerala woke up to an unprecedented disaster.
Our central Kerala district of Thrissur had been so far spared, but the night of 15th August saw torrential rains, leading to all the major dams being opened, and the flood, in its most devastating phase, hit us.
ATMA Foundation Director C K Suresh had arrived early at the office on 16th August, when he got the call. He set out with a team of ATMA volunteers to the nearby densely populated neighbourhood, where the water in its full fury, had knocked out compound walls, submerged cars, and was reaching up to the first floors of houses. The elderly couple were safely rescued, as were so many others. The rest of the day was a flurry of activity - responding to calls, passing information, comforting worried relatives - amidst an erratic power supply and unending rain.
Since then, the ATMA Foundation flood relief project has been in full swing – Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction efforts in a community that has never known, in living memory, a calamity of this scale.
In the initial days of the deluge, ATMA Volunteers were actively involved in rescue and relief efforts in their areas. Later, for the different relief activities, ATMA was able to mobilise more than 116 volunteers, putting in over 2700 man hours. A large number of local volunteers were also mobilised in each area where we worked.
ATMA mobilised urgently required relief materials for people in relief camps, and for people going back to their homes in the later stage. Till date, over 36 lakhs worth of relief material has already been distributed, reaching out to more than 22,000 families in 30 villages. This includes –
- 90,000 L of drinking water distributed to 17,800 families, worth over INR 9 Lakhs
- Water purification kits given to1000 families to provide pure drinking water for 3 months
- Relief materials such as grocery items, utensils, beds, tarpaulins, floor mats, bed sheets & school bags worth over INR 8.3 lakhs distributed to more than 1100 families
- New clothes given to all children of the LP school in Parakkadavu, a place where people suffered heavy material loss.
- Hygiene kits, cleaning materials, mosquito nets, etc worth over INR 12.7 Lakhs distributed to more than 1065 families in worst affected areas like Thottippal, Kodassery, Vynthala, Kuzhur, Injamudi, etc.
Group Counselling and personal counselling for flood victims were conducted in 8 places, benefitting over 1200 people. Free counselling continued at the ATMA office.
Primary Health Care Rural Camps were conducted in 18 remote villages in Thrissur & Ernakulam districts, benefitting over 1700 people. Medicines worth over INR 2 Lakhs were distributed free of cost.
Free Mobility Aids—Assessment & Distribution
Assessment Camp & Free Distribution of Mobility Equipments for flood victims was organised on 22nd& 23rd September, 2018 in association with Mobility India, with a follow up programme from November 1st – 3rd. Over 45 people with disabilities were provided with wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, walking sticks, rollators, etc. worth INR 3.35 Lakhs. Brief training sessions were also given to them and their caretakers by expert physiotherapists, enabling them to make the best use of the received device for maximum mobility.
Sewing machines were distributed to 4 families in Ernakulam district, costing over INR 40,000.
Fund raising projects were set up in online platforms including GlobalGiving, and donation requests were sent out to friends and well- wishers. The response has been overwhelming. Now that the relief phase is over, the remaining funds will be utilised for a long-term reconstruction project.
ATMA RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT
ATMA is gearing up for a long term reconstruction project, by adopting a flood-submerged village in the Kuzhoor Grama Panchayath. We are sourcing expert help to develop a suitable plan, and involve local volunteers to rebuild. In the true spirit of ‘Building Back better’, ATMA is committed to the long-term holistic development of the village, and shall play an active role in improving health, education and psychosocial aspects of village life. The project involves a range of initiatives from River management and sustainable energy to economic betterment through effective harnessing of community resources.
Phase 1: Research & Planning
ATMA volunteers have visited different areas in the Panchayath, interacting with different stakeholders. With the active involvement of the local leadership, a volunteer group is being formed there from within the community to support rebuilding and reconstruction efforts.
As part of the planning process, the ATMA team had an interaction with Smt. Sandhya Suresh – a professional with over 20 years’ experience in the development sector, including Tsunami relief. Sharing her experiences and insights, she gave the team a practical and realistic outlook into the possibilities and challenges of a long-term rehabilitation project.
The ATMA Research team is now preparing for an exhaustive field survey, the results of which will form the basis for Project Planning and Implementation. A preliminary data base is being compiled, with data available from agencies like Kerala Institute of Local Development and the Flood Relief wing of the District Collector’s Office.
Health Camp & Free Medicines to Flood Victims
Primary Health Care Camps
Free Mobility Aids Given to Flood Victims