Things needed for disaster relief and how easy it is to help

Here are some supplies needed desperately at the sites of disaster in Sikkim. I imagine the needs in Orissa will not be all that different.

The earlier post on helping Sikkim recover contains information on volunteers all over the country and world. Find one for your area (better still, become one). Send the supplies you can, to the address they provide you with. Done. But there are ways to make this easy or better:

  • A lot of the items are not too expensive. Others, you may have at home. If you have access to things cheaper than market price, give those.
  • If the place to deliver supplies is at an inconvenient distance, fikar not. Find a shop in the area from the local yellow pages, call them and ask for their bank account information (or ask the volunteer for the information). Transfer money, ask for delivery at the location where the supplies should be sent.
  • Ask people around you if you want to contribute. Collect a lot of supplies in one place, and then send them over. If it is a truckload, you might as well coordinate with them for it to be picked and sent to Sikkim directly from your area.
  • A lot of essentials like children’s clothes, blankets, warm clothes, etc are spare in most homes and in fairly good condition. Collect them in your neighbourhood, get a few volunteers to perhaps sort them out by type (ideally) and send them over. I would be very surprised if any locality doesn’t have people willing and able to give some such stuff.
  • Most important: If you are giving clothes, blankets and such material, please don’t give old, torn or otherwise unusable stuff. For one, it is insulting to someone in need to give what has been used to the point of trash and “donated” instead of discarded. For another, there is considerable time, money and effort people are volunteering so that essentials from all over the country reach those in need. If something won’t be used, it wastes that much effort and takes the space of something that would be useful.


Here is the list of supplies needed, but use your common sense. If there are other things you know are basic needs and you can provide, improvise.

  • Waterproof Tarpaulins {Available at hardware stores & also a list of manufacturers in India are linked here:}
  • Dry Food – Items such as Instant Noodles, dry fruits, canned meat, lentils, pulses, rice, biscuits, powdered milk, vegetables – potatoes, onion, corn, garlic and other items that people in this area are already used to eating / drinking (please add on) {Available at General / Provisional / Departmental Stores all over}
  • Infant Food – Milk powder (Nan 1, 2, 3 / Lactogen 1/2/3), Cerelac, Diapers {Available at General / Provisional / Departmental Stores & Chemists all over}
  • Clean Water – Water purifiers / Mineral water (perhaps if bisleri / tata/ some of the bigger or local ones can be contacted around Sikkim  since otherwise logisitics would be a problem)
  • Lighting – Emergency battery operated LED lights, torches are available in the market. Batteries to operate these should also be considered. {This is available at hardware stores, light stores}
  • Basic Medicines – Fever & Pain relievers (Paracetamol – Crocin, Calpol, Saradon, Disprin, Combiflam); Allergy Relievers (Allegra, Sinarest); Nausea & Altitude (Avomin); Diarrhea (Loperamide, Immodium) Asthma (Common Inhalers – Bricanyl, Asthalin, Aerocot) General (Dettol, Savalon, Band Aids, Crepe Wrap, Gauze / Bandage, Betadine Ointment, Neosprin Powder/ ointment, Cotton)
  • Personal Care: Soap, Toothpaste, Water Mugs, Gumboots, Woolen Socks
  • Blankets and warm clothes (You know you have a collection, many of which are perfectly good, and you don’t use.)


Besides this, there is a requirement to set up Medical Tents , Food Tents where food is also prepared, Warehousing Tents / proper shelters to stock materials brought in for relief work,Communication Camps for those who haven’t get in touch with their loved ones, could also stock some recharge vouchers for telephone operator networks.

Here is how you can help without leaving your desk. Figure out the supplies you wish to provide. Contact manufacturers or distributers, place a bulk