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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.

6

Flash floods in Uttarakhand
Flash floods in Uttarakhand (Photo credit: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection)

The Uttarakhand flood is fast becoming a hotbed for opportunists. Fake images and videos are circulated online to get social media power, announcements are made encouraging people to publicize certain profiles or content promising donations to flood relief, fake links are coming up requesting donations for flood relief. It isn't all that different from the situation on the ground where opportunism abounds as rapes, assaults and loot. Even as people are rising to the occasion to come to aid, others seek to exploit blind trust of people to further their own agendas.

When we have even rag pickers children sending donations from their precious saved funds, clearly there is a large potential for money to be routed for aid. The need of the time now is to be certain that your aid is reaching intended recipients and not fattening some greedy exploiter's wallet.

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 is calling for donations. 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 are offering links to donate funds for crisis relief after natural disasters like the Uttarakhand floods. 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. "CM Relief Fund Uttarakhand" to Secretariat, 4, Subash Road, Dehradun. SBI A/c No 30395954328; IFSC CODE SBIN0010164; SWIFT CODE SBININBB380.
  3. Goonj.org is a website that works for rescue and relief after natural disasters. They are currently working to help the survivors of the Uttarakhand floods. 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.
  4. Some states (for some mysterious or greedy reason) have started their own Uttarakhand flood relief funds rather than contribute to the state or national ones. Or perhaps they use them for evacuations. Here are two examples. Will search more if I get time (unlikely):
    1. Uttar Pradesh CM Relief fund: 1378820696 Central Bank, Cantt branch, Lucknow or send cheque/draft to Sunil Kumar Pandey, deputy secretary, chief minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan, Lucknow.
    2. Goa CM Relief fund: Will be used to rebuild villages, it seems, number of villages depending on amount of money collected. SBI account 33077450333 - not sure this is enough information to get the job done.
  5. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh: Regardless of ideological roots, the RSS has always worked non-discriminatory citizen-led emergency responses for disaster relief since before we were a country. You can transfer a donation to their bank account ‘Uttaranchal Daivee Aapada Peedith Sahayata Samiti’ in SBI A/c No : 31156574681 Branch : SBI Main Branch, Dehradun IFC Code : SBIN0000630
  6. Doctors For You is seeking donations for running medical camps. Yes Bank A/C No: 000190300000030 Branch: Yes Bank, Worli branch, Mumbai IFSC Code: YESB0000001
  7. SeedsIndia is rushing temporary shelter materials and other essentials to Uttarakhand and is requesting funds. You can donate online at their website.

Stay tuned for updates if good sources turn up.

If anyone in the government is reading this, here are some harsh words.

For a country with ambitions to snoop into people's private communicatin, launch manned space stations and what not, the technological support for the Uttarakhand floods crisis has been abysmal. Prime Minister is asking people to donate generously to his fund,  but the website where people are supposed to pay money gives a security warning for its certificate. The details of the Prime Minister's fund, Chief Minister funds and such seem to be closely guarded secrets when they SHOULD be bold graphics on every government site encouraging people to donate NOW. Whoever updates government sites, considerable deprivation of the flood hit people of Uttaranchal is due to your apathy in raising funds for them.