The region of Kerala is now in a state of emergency, and help is desperately needed.
Due to heavy rains and unprecedented flooding in Kerala, more than 250,000 people have had to flee their homes, which are under water either partially or completely. Approximately 22 of the 30+ dams in Kerala have been opened and yet the region is still flooding. India is not prepared for dealing with this magnitude of disaster. Most people do not know how to swim or bring themselves to safety. They are relying on rescuers to get them to one of the 2,000 relief camps that have been set up throughout the region. To-date, more than 350 people have died.
As billions of gallons of water flooded through the region from monsoon rains and open dams, landslides were initiated, destroying mountainsides and roads, and rivers overflowed into neighboring towns and villages. Roads have been washed away and the airports are under water, making the transport of goods and people almost impossible. People were rescued or escaped with only the clothes they were wearing, and are now in need of food, fresh water, medicine, clothing, safe places to stay, bedding, towels and other basic needs.
Our family in Kerala is now safe. We didlose own home due to the floods a few days ago. Two days prior, the water entered into the house on the ground floor, and eventually rose to the roof. Our cousins managed to bring our mother’s sister and our dog to safety at the home of our oldest cousin, but one day later that house started to fill with water. As of now, they have all left their homes and are in another relative’s house that was not as flooded. They are safe and helping others in our village of 25,000 inhabitants, cooking and bottling water to deliver to the relief camps.
Ratheesh will go to India as soon as transportation allows. He will bring aid and organize local support efforts. We are also looking into legitimate, well-vetted organizations that will carry out much of this work. When we have more information about that, we will communicate it to you. At this moment, we have trusted family members and friends in or going to the various relief camps in our region, including Wayanad, a region where people already do not have much money and need even more assistance than in the urban areas.
Many friends, family and community members worldwide have been asking how they can help and where they can send money to support the rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts. This Go Fund Me page provides you the opportunity to help. Thank you for you concern, your love and your support!
Our Plan of Action
At this point in time we have no idea how long the relief and rebuilding efforts will take, but given the extent of the damage, the process will be long and expenses great. Below you will find a brief description of how your donations will support the people of Kerala immediately and longer term.
Step 1. Immediately:People need safe places to live and sleep. They need food and water, rehydration, cooking utensils, clothes, bedding, medical assistance to prevent infectious diseases, hygiene products for hands and personal needs, water filter systems, medicine and protection from looters and robbers, as well as from the animals that have come down from the mountains, such as snakes that have bitten people. We will go to India as soon as possible and begin to help pesonally.
Step 2. Short Term:Once people have their basic needs met, are safe, and have proper healthcare, and the water has receded, the second phase can begin. Clean-up of homes that have been filled with dirty water, mud and wild animals needs to happen so that people can begin to return to or rebuild their homes in our village, as well as well as the larger region. Helping those who cannot help themselves is also essential, including helping animals find their way back to their natural habitats. Cleaning of stores and marketplaces are also essential so that food can be brought in. We need purchase materials, hire labor and trusted community members to oversee the work. We believe this will happen in the coming weeks and months, depending on when the rains stop, transport is available and people can return to their villages and homes. We also anticipate working with the local people and aid organizations during this process that can provide organization, structure and labor.
Step 3. Long Term:Whole towns and cities need to be rebuilt. Rebuilding the infrastructure of roads, bridges, dams and repairing hospitals and schools throughout the region is required. We will provide as much financial support and labor as possible, and we are investigating organizations that will organize and carry out the work. In the even longer-term, we need to develop a disaster relief plan and educate people about the preventative measures they can take in order to prevent another tragedy of this size. We will work with aid organizations, as well as local communities to help these rebuilding efforts.
Additional ways you can help that do not require money:
1. Share the news reports and our updates via social mediaand any other contacts you may have. The international media has not featured this story widely. It is beginning to appear, but please continue to spread the news.
2. Contact the Indian Embassy in your country and ask them to request international aidfor Keralaso that organizations like the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders can come into India and help the people.
3.If you have any further ideas or contactsin the media or a disaster relief organization, please contact us directly so we can get in touch with them.
On a personal note, we have felt helpless and heartbroken, not only for our loss, but for all the people who are losing family members, their homes, their lands and for the region which needs to rebuild itself. It is for these people that we humbly request your assistance.
We appreciate any amount of money you can offer. Every euro/cent/kronor/rupee/dollar helps.
Together we are strong, and together we can make a difference!
Thank you for your support.
Caroline & Ratheesh
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