2018 Kerala Floods: When God's Own Country Drowned

 

On August 15th, 2018 while the rest of India was celebrating Independence Day with pomp and glory, little did we realize what was in store for the people of Kerala.  The torrential rain did not stop and was unabated for the whole day. This continued into the next day as well and to make matters worse these downpours were near the reservoirs of Kerala that held water for irrigation and drinking purposes. The reservoirs were already strained in capacity from previous rainfalls. The rainfall of August 2018 was 164% over the normal for Kerala that month. By end of day on August 16th, the reservoirs swelled to maximum capacity and reached the dangerous level of breaching. Sensing catastrophic conditions it was decided to open the gates of all major dams in the state. Thirty-five out of the 54 dams within the state were opened for the first time in history. Kerala and its people were now at the mercy of the floodwaters. It was the worst flood in Kerala in nearly a century. Over 483 people died and 15 are missing.  At least a million people were evacuated. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala have been directly affected by the floods and related incidents. The Indian government declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or “calamity of a severe nature”. Never had the state witnessed a natural calamity of this proportion since the Great Floods of 99 (Malayalam month) that happened in 1924.

 

As the day dawned on August 16th in the U.S., Kerala Club Executive Members were watching the media coverage of the catastrophe that was unfolding in their native land. We saw images of frightening destruction as the raging floods ravaged Kerala, desperate pleas for rescue as water levels rose, videos of homes destroyed and people displaced. We witnessed from afar, the worst calamity that Kerala had seen in a century. 

 

And, just as despair was at its peak, from this immense tragedy arose something else; stronger and more ferocious than ever – the human will to persevere! Fishermen came by the hundreds to navigate the raging waters; the Bravehearts’ in uniform worked tirelessly to reach the almost unreachable; young men and women mobilized and led rescue and relief efforts. The leaders, political and administrative, worked side by side without regard for their own comfort.

 

As an organization that prides itself on serving the community, we understood that this was a time of need for our brothers and sisters back home. After quick planning discussions of the available options, we decided to organize a fundraiser so that the money collected could be directly used for relief and rehabilitation work.

 

Our GoFundMe (GFM) campaign was started on August 17th 2018 with the goal of raising $25,000 towards flood relief efforts.  People started contributing from far and away, some of them with no idea or information about Kerala but all they wanted to do was help. We decided to increase our campaign goal to $50,000 and our donors continued their support, very soon we reached $45,000 in 13 days of starting the campaign.  On October 31st we decided to formally close our GFM campaign after reaching our goal of $50,000. 

 

Giving is not just about making a donation, it is about making a difference. 

 

In addition to our GFM campaign, we received contributions from our partners in the amount of $30,000 and Kerala Club and its Executive Committee members donated  $10,000 towards this effort as well. In all, we collectively raised over $90,000 as part of the campaign to support the flood-affected victims of Kerala and this was in every sense a great team effort. 

 

Respect the people who find time for us in their busy schedule but Love the people who never looked at their schedule when we needed them. 

 

Our work had only started as we began raising the funds. We quickly mobilized our contacts in Kerala to get in touch with NGO’s providing relief work at ground zero and started our project execution.  These projects have been executed in almost all of the districts of Kerala which were affected by the floods – Kottayam, Palakkad, Alappuzha, Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, and Thrissur. From basic clothing needs and food packets to free medicines to household utensils to bedding to  mixers to school supplies to saline waters to flood kits to Grocery items to cleaning essentials and rebuilding their homes we have covered it all with support from our partners back home. 

 

As we moved into 2019, we continued our charity work to help flood-affected victims across different parts of Kerala.  

 

On a final note, Kerala Club members want to thank all those large-hearted people who trusted us in our campaign and emerged as heroes in time of need. You have restored our collective faith in humanity. Everyone contributed towards making a difference and together we made the change to help our people back home. 

 

Thank you and God Bless. 

Who is partnering with Us

Kerala Flood Relief Updates

Project 1 – Rotary Club of East Kottayam – Completed

The Kerala Club of Detroit and its members currently in Kerala partnered with the NGO – Rotary Club to hand over the most essential clothes items that were requested by the NGO for the flood victims currently residing in the relief camps in the east Kottayam district – ravaged by the flood waters from rain and the outflow from the dams and reservoirs. Rotary Club members and the flood victims wanted to convey their sincere thanks to all the generous contributors to the Kerala-Floods-Relief-Fundraiser without which such help would not have been possible on a short notice.

Read More »

Project 2 – Pallakkad District – Beds for Camp Inmates – Completed

The Kerala Club of Detroit, Michigan donated 1000 beds to the inhabitants at Kanjikkode Apna Ghar relief camp at a function held in Palakkad in the presence of Sri. D. Balamurali IAS (District Collector, Palakkad) and Krishnakumar (Deputy Chairman,Palakkad Muncipality). This will cover the bedding need for all the people at this relief camp site. Mr.Subash Ramachandran, ex-president of the Kerala club along with Sujith Menon handled the logistics from our end. The Kerala Club worked with VISWAS, an NGO in Palakkad to coordinate these efforts. Apna Ghar is originally a state-of-the-art facility for migrant workers which is yet to be inaugurated and occupied. This was converted to a relief camp due to the urgent flood situation. Apna ghar facility has 64 big rooms and there are 610 people in this relief camp. Most of the occupants in this relief camp are from various flood affected areas of Palakkad like Kalpathy, Sekharipuram, Olavakkode, Kadukkam Kunnu and Shankhu Varathodu.

Read More »

Project 3 – Camp Chingavanam, Kottayam- Supplies for Camp-Completed.

Chingavanam School is serving as makeshift emergency relief camps for Lakshmi Veedu Colony members. Kurichi is another relief camps serving the needs of people affected in Kottayam. Based on the relief camp help request, members of Kerala Club worked with the relief camp coordinators and School Principal to urgently needed essential clothes. Most of the relief camp residents have lost all their basic clothing. Chingavanam School Emergency Relief Camp White Mund-40 Saree-25 Nighty-50 Ladies undergarments set-50 Mens undergarments set-50 Lungi-60 Towel-50  Kuruchi Relief Camp Nighty-36 Underskirt-21 Kids items-21 Saree-20 Lungi-18  

Read More »

Project 4 – Lions Club Thodupuzha, Idukki- Completed

Lions Club Thodupuzha members in partnership with Kerala Club of Detroit along with the National Service Society unit volunteers of 93 students and 7 staff member from Santhigiri College Vazhithala were mobilized to perform the cleanup activities of the remote tribal village homes. Kerala Club sponsored the food, rent for all materials used for cleaning and transportation of the volunteers. As you can see from the videos, transporting such a large number of volunteers through unpaved and treacherous flood damaged roads of Poomala to Padinjaremethotti was a challenging undertaking. The volunteers had to go on foot to reach the actual locations in the end. This project not only provides the satisfaction of helping the flood affected tribal villages but also the happiness of being able to get the younger generation students involved in the community responsibility and volunteering.

Read More »

Project 6 – Kottayam Dist-Rehabilitation & Cleaning Supplies- Completed

Former President of Kerala Club of Detroit Jain Mathews along with group of youth volunteers went to the Kallara Panchayath in the Mundar area of Kottayam District with the cleaning kit for homes. The youth volunteers along with KC members cleaned the houses of the villagers and helped them get back to normal life from the flood affected houses.

Read More »

Project 7- Farmers Club Neyyassery-Completed

Lions Club Thodupuzha members in partnership with Kerala Club of Detroit along with the National Service Society unit volunteers of 93 students and 7 staff member from Santhigiri College Vazhithala were mobilized to perform the cleanup activities of the remote tribal village homes. Kerala Club sponsored the food, rent for all materials used for cleaning and transportation of the volunteers. As you can see from the images, transporting such a large number of volunteers through unpaved and treacherous flood damaged roads of Poomala to Padinjaremethotti was a challenging undertaking. The volunteers had to go on foot to reach the actual locations in the end. This project not only provides the satisfaction of helping the flood affected tribal villages but also the happiness of being able to get the younger generation students involved in the community responsibility and volunteering.

Read More »

Project 8- Project Wayanad- Completed

ORS – Oral rehydration system is a type of fluid replacement used to prevent and treat dehydration, especially due to diarrhea. With the possibility of water borne diseases spreading, the need for these systems are at utmost importance to the these places. A NGO van from Bangalore transported these ORS to Wayanad District Drug Warehouse with the help of volunteers from Bangalore. Kerala Club flood relief funds accounted for in purchasing 6800 units of the ORS to the warehouse . The ORS was purchased at discounted price in Bangalore. The ORS was delivered to the wayanad district govt drug warehouse in Kalpetta for distribution throughout the rest of the hospitals. There was shortage of ORS in Wayanad. The store manager was surprised that the price we got for ORS was so less. He also mentioned that this ORS is of very good quality, which makes it easy for kids to consume. The standard ORS they distribute is flavorless. The MSRP of each quantity of ORS was purchased at ? the price and there by the number of contributions increased 5 times than what it would have normally.

Read More »

Kerala club charity update : Idukki relief construction project

Recipient: Suma Gopi Thondiyamalayil… Vellathooval, Idukki Logistics supported by :Snehatheeram Residence Association Kerala club coordinator: Jaison Suma Gopi, a widow and daily waged labour who is financially broken due to the treatment of her husband. She has a son and a daughter and was staying in a small house which was incomplete. Due to the landslide during the natural calamity, part of the house and the only toilet they had got severely damaged. After this incident they were living in a temporary tarpaulin shelter next to the damaged house. By God’s Grace and the financial support from Kerala Club, U.S.A, Snehatheeram Residence association successfully executed the maintenance works. Suma and family are extremely happy and thankful to all of us, as their daughter was getting married on 27th Jan 2019 and we were able to complete all the works before the event. Works done. Works done. 1. Renovated the damaged walls of the house. 2. Renovated the entire kitchen with new stove (Aduppe). 3. Plastering of entire walls and slabs in the kitchen including chimmney. 4. Flooring of the entire house with cement. 5. Bathroom :– Plastering, Closet and fittings, Plumbing works, Door, Build new toilet pit covered with concrete

Read More »

Project 4 – Lions Club Thodupuzha, Idukki- Completed Copy

Lions Club Thodupuzha members in partnership with Kerala Club of Detroit along with the National Service Society unit volunteers of 93 students and 7 staff member from Santhigiri College Vazhithala were mobilized to perform the cleanup activities of the remote tribal village homes. Kerala Club sponsored the food, rent for all materials used for cleaning and transportation of the volunteers. As you can see from the videos, transporting such a large number of volunteers through unpaved and treacherous flood damaged roads of Poomala to Padinjaremethotti was a challenging undertaking. The volunteers had to go on foot to reach the actual locations in the end. This project not only provides the satisfaction of helping the flood affected tribal villages but also the happiness of being able to get the younger generation students involved in the community responsibility and volunteering.

Read More »