<link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans%3A400italic%2C700italic%2C400%2C700">Bhubaneswar Archives « Aam JanataSkip to content

With every crisis comes a plague of those profiting from it. Cyclone Phailin is devastating in its proportions and the damage it leaves behind. It is important to channel your aid through reliable organizations so that it reaches people on the ground rather than getting siphoned off or scammed.

I will confirm and update more sources as they announce their appeals. Scroll down for list of suggested necessities to send.

Here are several ways you can help that are fairly trustworthy. Include your name and address if you want IT exemption.

  1. The Prime Minister's national relief fund. If you have netbanking, you ought to be able to use it to securely donate to PMNRF - Prime Minister's National Relief Fund. Many banks will offer links to donate funds for crisis relief after natural disasters like the Cyclone Phailin later. Or you can snail mail a cheque or demand draft in the name of "Prime Minister's National Relief Fund" and send to Prime Minister's Office, South Block, New Delhi - 110011
  2. Chief Minister's Relief Fund Andhra Pradesh: You can Donate Online. Here are the instructions for doing wire/telegraphic transfers of your donations from outside India. The account details for the wire transfers should also work for depositing cheques - HDFC Bank Ltd, MUMBAI. Acct no : 0212320004718. Account name : The Chief Minister Relief Fund , Govt of AP.
  3. Chief Minister's Relief Fund for Odisha: Donate to “CHIEF MINISTER’S RELIEF FUND, ORISSA” (CMRF) by CHEQUE/DEMAND DRAFT payable at Bhubaneswar. All contributions to ORISSA CMRF may be sent to Joint Secretary to Government, GA (CMRF) Department, Orissa Secretariat, Bhubaneswar- 751001,Orissa. Donors can also remit through their bank directly to SB A/C No.10566116417 of State Bank of India, Forest Park Branch, Bhubaneswar, Orissa. They also have an online page for donations, which isn't working. I'll update when they fix it.
  4. Goonj.org is a website that works for rescue and relief after natural disasters. They accept aid in the form of money, clothing as well as other material contributions that can be put to good use by survivors. They have an extensive network where you can drop material contributions for relief at a location convenient to you and both Indians and foreigners can also donate online. You can volunteer for them where you live and organize collections of donations to facilitate greater aid. If you can organize truckloads from your locality, they will pick them up.
  5. Doctors For You run medical camps after disasters. Yes Bank A/C No: 000190300000030 Branch: Yes Bank, Worli branch, Mumbai IFSC Code: YESB0000001

Doctors For You do good work, and you should plan on donating to them, but not just yet. Let them announce their aid and make appeals first.

Here are some suggested items for donating:

  • Tarpaulin sheets, plastic sheets and other waterproof shelter materials. This is a biggie. Many homes are destroyed, even more have roofs blown off that will need to be covered immediately to protect inside of house from decaying in the rain as well.
  • Food: Vast quantities of dry snacks that can be distributed to those in shelters.
  • Essential medicines, first aid supplies, sanitary napkins.
  • MILK powder. Loads of kids living in shelters will need milk.
  • I would say clothes, but clothes are the most common gift and most abused. Give only practical clothes that rural people will wear daily and give clothes that are in GOOD CONDITION. There is no point spending money on transporting worn down or otherwise unwearable clothes that far, at cost that could be spent on things that can be used.
  • Blankets, bedsheets, karrimats/chatais/groundsheets.
  • Utensils - think basic, versatile pots, pans, plates, glasses, laddles and such. This is no place for the forgotten crockery from your wedding. Larger ones will be better than tiny ones. Think 2 liter volume and above for pots.
  • Anything else that is useful and practical. Make suggestions in comments, and I can put these up here. Check the Goonj website and aid requests on social media. There may be updates on specific needs.

Start sending! Help to rehabilitate lakhs of people will be needed rapidly now.

2

We had floods last month in Assam and parts of the North East got cut from access. This month we have floods in Orissa where large numbers of people are surviving on roofs or abandoning homes altogether.

The plight of people is bad, BAD. The levels of water in rivers have started receding since yesterday, but it will be a while before villagers are able to reclaim their villages. Meanwhile, they are marooned on their rooftops or wherever they are sheltered. Surrounded by floodwater and out of basic essentials like food and water.

Relief supplies are being dropped from Bhuwaneshwar and no one really seems to know what's going on with those, but there is a lot of wastage when packets are dropped in flood water and lost or damaged beyond use. Imagine the mental state of one who is reduced to seeing his thirsty children drink floodwater out of desperation, stay hungry for days, and have packets of aid dropping into the water around. Read this man's story.

I hope relief forces discover better ways of targetting where the supplies land or at least pack them to be waterproof. I suppose the packing will also become useful protection for the victims.

The other thing that comes to mind is the disinterest of National Media in this tragedy. There is little awareness being raised, little effort made to draw attention to people suffering desperately and on a massive scale in the country. Most people don't know about the flood, or if they do know, they know it as a vague news thing they heard briefly. Compare this with the day Mumbai flooded. The flooding lasted for a couple of hours but was headlines for months after that.

Even minor flooding and traffic jams and collapsing building walls and what nots all make news when it is the city. And when it is not the city? Many, many people in desperate straits barely get a mention. This is wrong on so many levels. If we are a country, then we must act like one country. It is not enough to call a place an "atoot ang" or get angry if they want to break away from the country, but ignore the people who are there. Every state of this country is important, all the citizens are important.

These are simple people, their needs are simple and mostly revolve around survival in a time like this. As co-citizens, concern, basic supplies and attention is the very least of what we owe them. It is shocking to know that we are failing them and in their time of need, the aid is falling short of the objective and their plight is hidden from the world. This callous disregard must go.

I had suggested in an earlier article that the National media must include stories from all over the country. I stress that in times of crisis, these stories must occupy even more prominent places. Vijayendra Mohanty challenges this pseudo national scope of our media in an excellent, scathing article where he describes a friend asking him how he is doing because he is in danger of his home being submerged, but is reading in the news that Delhi is facing severe flooding.

This isn't just some idealistic thing, but these are real people and their plights are very real. Aid agencies both in and out of the country cannot understand the magnitude of the need, if it doesn't reach them. In being blind to the plight of the lesser known citizens of the country, the media ends up depriving them of potential assistance in their time of crippling need. There needs to be some reflection on this.

More importantly, we need to be aware that our national media is no such thing and make conscious efforts to spread the word on the difficulties faced by the people of our country in places media is not interested in. For example, Here is the link to the Chief Minister of Odisha's Relief fund for the flood victims. You can also donate online. To quote information from that page:

Donate to “CHIEF MINISTER’S RELIEF FUND, ORISSA” (CMRF) by CHEQUE/DEMAND DRAFT payable at Bhubaneswar.

All contributions to ORISSA CMRF may be sent to Joint Secretary to Government, GA (CMRF) Department, Orissa Secretariat, Bhubaneswar- 751001,Orissa.

Donors can also remit through their bank directly to SB A/C No.10566116417 of State Bank of India, Forest Park Branch, Bhubaneswar, Orissa.

I know right now, you are sensitive to the plight of these brothers, sisters, friends, co-citizens of ours. Don't lose this mode, use this information to send over help right now.

PS: I had wanted to write more and more and more.... really a lot. Lots of articles, posts... to show my caring. But I know very little of what is happening there. Sharing a source for more information: Orissa Diary and Orissa TV - They are local news, and they are deploying teams among the flooded to bring really grassroots news. Kudos to them.