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Kerala Flood Relief - Another crew on the way

With jeeps and more relief supplies

Jvo A. Maurer - 20.08.2018

Plan, shop, pack, recharge, then off you go. Around noon and during the afternoon, pictures, videos, information and updates around and from the camps dribble, and late in the evening our crews reach their base stations. In between is radio silence. The days come together for a long day - with a few hours of sleep in between, here and there.

The roads are still bad or not passable, we adapted our routes accordingly. Now all our crews are on the way with jeeps and vans, which allows them to deliver much more relief supplies.

“No electricity in most places.”

Today we sent an extra group, led by Gokul, to the remote areas of Wayanad, Chennithala Camp. Indigenous peoples (Indian tribals), who are not used to much attention from the "civilized" remnant of the population, fell completely in the turmoil of the last few weeks and have lost their livelihood and food base with the flooding of their agricultural fields. Although India is well supplied with donations and relief supplies, Tribals feel little of it. Gokul and his team were warmly received, their personal handover of the aid packages was celebrated with great thanks. Food and medicine are still needed urgently. We will send another convoy to that region tomorrow.

Ajith and his crew reached Maniyaramkudi in Idukki today, we posted a video from the camp leader informing us about the situation on the ground. Mountain slides due to heavy rain were more of a problem in the region than the amounts of water most of them saved or were saved from. Here too, mostly tribals are housed. The situation remains very bad. No electricity and no food.

“No electricity and no food. The situation remains bad.”

All camps are home to amazing children. Without electricity, no help can be requested. All the more our relief supplies were received with great thanks.

Rohin and his team visited the camp next to 89 individual families today at Chennithala. The situation here has only moderately relaxed, although the water is slowly returning.

“The delivery has quarreled, some people receive nothing.”

Many of the camps have no coordinator, the delivery has quarrelled, some are empty. We will try to distribute the delivery personally in the future. Drinking water is available, but the food is largely missing and will remain a big challenge for weeks if not months. The tide has receded a bit, a thick brown mud remains behind. Sporadically, families return to their homes to begin cleanup. However, the hygienic conditions in the camps are getting worse, especially among children and women. Diseases and infections are spreading in this region. Many of the camps have no coordinator, the delivery has quarrelled, some people receive nothing.

“The precarious situation is driving some to the brink of despair.”

The precarious situation is driving some to the brink of despair. In addition to food deliveries, we will bring disinfectants and other medical necessities. Rohin's crew never got home before 2 am in the Indian time, with their feet wide open, damaged cars and barely eating anything themselves. They do everything to help their compatriots to get out of their misery. Tomorrow this crew will move on to Aranmula.

Nithin, who was a lifeblood of relief supplies before our relief effort, today made a strong point in providing small additional and much-needed medical support. If it were up to him, we would provide twice and three times as many goods: He emptied his own bank account days ago to give the needy the bare necessities. His detailed price research has already saved us a lot of money.

Sharath coordinates and informs the crews on the road, moves the funds received to the right place, prepares the news of our convoys, maintains accounting and puts in between a few photos online. His phone is probably smoking soon, but he still has time for an encouraging word for exhausted crews. Again and again, we receive calls for help and requests for relief goods, which turn out to be something wrong after some research. The chaos and thus the opportunities for careless enrichment of freeloaders remains big - and our eyes and ears are accordingly alert.

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