In September of this year there were unprecedented levels of rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir, a region in the Himalayas under administration by the Indian Government. This heavy precipitation resulted in extreme flooding throughout the region, which in turn caused more than $1 billion in infrastructural damage, displaced 1.2 million families, and accounted for over 500 deaths. Internal relief efforts have been largely inundated, and the Indian Government’s financial assistance has been insufficient. Consequently, the majority of displaced families are still living outside, more than a month after the disaster struck.
After being contacted for help by her close friend Samir Ahmad, a researcher in Kashmir, Skidmore Professor Yelena Biberman-Ocakli and I decided that we would create the “Kashmir Flood Volunteer Action Committee”, through which Skidmore students can get involved in fundraising efforts to help the Kashmiri flood victims. Moreover, all of our proceeds will directly support Samir Ahmad and his colleagues at “Relief for Flood Victims in Kashmir”, who are on the ground administering aid in the region.
We believe this to be a unique opportunity to contribute to a completely transparent humanitarian effort, as Samir Ahmad and his organization are not affiliated with any big NGOs or political parties and avoid attention from media outlets. By partnering with their efforts we are committing ourselves to being a part of what will be a long path to rehabilitation in the Kashmir region. While realistically our efforts will be small in comparison to the damage that has occurred, the Kashmir Flood Victims Action Committee will make a tangible difference in the lives of a few who need it most.
Skidmore Student and Organizer of KFVAC
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