Reports say that about 800,000 people being displaced and more than 350 dead in one of the worst flooding in the history of God’s own country, Kerala, and these numbers are still ticking.
Browse through the internet and you will find stories of loss, misery, and despair. While few have a notion that it is a man-made disaster, others tell that it is a divine wrath. But, if that helped these flood-hit victims in any manner, we would have accepted that as well. But unfortunately, it is not so.
Rabindranath Tagore once said, “Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; my refuge is humanity. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live. ”
Amid all the chaos and pain, here are a few stories of compassion and selflessness that will keep your heart warm for a long long time and will encourage you to do endless good and restore your faith in humanity. The best part is that it will bring back the memories of what we have always read in school textbooks- the power of unity in diversity, that this country has always boasted about.
1. Operation Sahyog
Indian Army has once again come forward in such emergency situations to help people. Be it evacuating hapless people from isolated places, repairing or cleaning roads in the villages of Kerala or constructing temporary bridges, the Indian army has been working 24×7 to stabilize the condition there.
As per the latest tweet from ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY, Captain Syed Ashad Ahmed of 8 Engineer Regiment, established captive ferry to rescue 57 civilians from Chngannur. Indian Army, so far, has made 15 bridges, provided relief material to 20 villages and ready to eat meals to 1200 civilians.
To counter the landslip threats and incessant rains in Malappuram district, the army has built a 40-foot bridge. By using local resources available in the area, the personnel has improvised the bridge, which was badly hit by flood water.
#Update #KeralaFloods2018 Column of 44 Field Regiment constructed foot bridge at area Padikkad from local resources. In heavily pouring rain the construction was completed. We are at it #OpMadad #KeralaFloodRelief pic.twitter.com/dKRf3zGe9S
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) August 15, 2018
In another incident, a make-shift bridge was created by Army in Wayanad using trees to rescue about 800 stranded people.
Calling the relief work in Kerala as ‘Operation Sahyog’ (cooperation), ten columns of Army along with personnel from Navy, Air Force, and NDRF are engaged in relief and rescue work in badly hit districts, including Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur, and Wayanad.
2. Humanity above anything
This video of the rescue operations in Malappuram district captures the 32-year-old fisherman Jaisal KP who offered his body as a stepping stone to help women climb on to a rescue boat which otherwise might have been too high for them to reach.
3. The superhero kids
Harron and Diya were saving money in their piggy bank for the past two years to buy a study table. However, after seeing their parents, Sidhique Mallassery and Fathimma Sidhique donating clothes and other things to the relief camps, the kids also asked them to donate their total saving of Rs.2210 in the piggy bank. The amount these kids donated may not be that substantial but their intent to help makes them stand out as heroes.
4. Fishermen Turn Guardian Angels
Help can come from anywhere and at the end of the day it is the willingness to help that matters the most when you are part of the state affected by one of the worst floods in 100 years. To stabilize the situation of Kerala and to save people affected by floods, a community of fishermen has come forward as good Samaritans.
Late on Thursday, more than 100 fishermen took out their boats on the flooded and waterlogged streets of Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, and Thiruvananthapuram and patrolled the cities on early Friday.
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2018
While talking to Navbharat Times, General Secretary, National Fisherworkers’ Forum, T Peter said, it was time to pay back in kindness to the Kerala people, as the fisherman community once got support and help from them in 2017, when the state was hit by the Ockhi cyclone disaster.
Further, he added that “Most fishermen who are engaged in the relief work have left their daily work to help out people. This isn’t a spontaneous one-time initiative; we are doing it with a consistent unity. We are using designated team leaders on the field and regional centers who are guiding us according to the recommendations of the revenue authority.”
The exclusive design of the boats also played a significant role in the rescue mission.
In a tweet, CM Pinarayi Vijayan wrote-
Update on Chengannur; Attempts to rescue the stranded are on a war-footing basis. 4 helicopters, 5 military boats & 65 fishing boats are part of operations. Four 100-member strong army teams have been deployed. Food is being supplied using helicopters.#KeralaFloods
— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) August 18, 2018
5. Khalsa Aid International
Following the teachings of Guru Nanak, ‘vand chhako‘ (sharing with less fortunate and eating together), the UK-based Sikh Charity, Khalsa Aid reached Kochi on Friday and organized langar (community kitchen) for the flood-hit people in the area.
One of the local gurudwaras, Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Thevara, has also helped this organization to prepare meals for about 3,000 people, who were served meals at the relief camp set up by this group. Witnessing the disaster, 8 local volunteers have also joined the group to help flood victims.
This organization is known for their humanitarian effort for refugees across the globe. “Our team is currently at Assisi Vidyaniketan Public School, Perumpilly in Kochi and serving langar to 3,000 people. We have adopted this camp. More volunteers will reach there soon,” said Amarpreet Singh, Asia Pacific managing director of Khalsa Aid to Indian Express.
The organization is planning to set up a collection center where they can gather basic necessities like anti-bacterial soaps, slippers, tarpaulin sheets, knives, among other things, said a volunteer from Ludhiana, Gursahib Singh, as mentioned in the report.
On Saturday, August 18, about one lakh packets of relief material, each consisting of a mineral water bottle, biscuits, rusk, skimmed milk, sugar and tea leaves, were dispatched from Ludhiana by the government of Punjab.
Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said, “CM Captain Amarinder Singh has announced aid of Rs 10 crore for Kerala including Rs 5 crore for relief material. The first lot has been dispatched today from Ludhiana.”
6. Human first, businessman later
Vishnu Kachhawa, a blanket merchant from Madhya Pradesh, buys blankets from other parts of the country and then sell them door-to-door in Iritty, Kerala. When he came back to Kerala after his last trip with his pack of blankets, he was not aware of the severity of the flood situation. But after getting to know about the current situation from the Iritty Taluk officials, he decided to donate his entire stock of 50 blankets to the Collector, for the people in a flood-relief camp at Adichukootti Government School, Mangad.
Meet #Vishnu. He is a blanket merchant from Maharashtra. He came back to Kerala with 50 blanket to sell. But once he knew about the calamities this guy didn’t have to think twice he donated his entire stock of blankets to the district collector. #KeralaFloodRelief pic.twitter.com/fcz7MTE5LL
— Pishu Mon (@PishuMon) August 11, 2018
7. Mosques raising funds and requesting support
In Mumbai, the student-led National organization, SIO (Students Islamic Organisation of India) is carrying out nationwide fundraising campaign. They have raised about Rs.1.5 lakhs from more than 50 mosques in Maharashtra alone through Friday Sermon(Juma Namaz).
“In the coming week, Muslims in Maharashtra will celebrate their Eid by sharing the pain of our brothers by sending massive donations to Kerala, funds will be collected at more than 100 mosques and Eid-Gahs after Eid prayers. SIO will also send the fund raised through selling Skins of sacrificed animals during Eid for flood relief work in Kerala,” said Khizer Shabibi, a student of Mechanical Engineering and in charge of flood relief drive in Maharashtra.
As per another report by The Hindu, the Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees Hyderabad Secunderabad (JAHHS) issued a circular to all masjids in its control instructing imams or khateebs, those who deliver the Friday sermon, to request the Friday congregation to donate as much as they can to Kerala flood victims.
Making the appeal, the khateeb at Masjid-e-Muhammadi said, “This is not about any religion or sect. This is about how human beings have been affected by a natural calamity. Today, it is them, tomorrow it could be us.”
8. Churches offering shelters to flood victims
On Sunday, August 19, Pope Francis prayed for the flood victims in Kerala. According to Vatican news, at St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis led the crowds gathered in prayer for those suffering from “this great calamity.” Further, he assured that “these brothers and sisters” will always be supported by the solidarity and concrete support from the international community.
While speaking about the flood-hit areas and precarious condition of people, he expressed his closeness to the Church in Kerala, “which is at the forefront of efforts to bring aid to the population.”
A separate report states that the Catholic Church in Kerala has joined relief efforts as unprecedented floods and landslides continue to cause havoc in the state. To help people in flood-hit areas, all 41 Catholic dioceses in the southern state have opened schools and other institutions to provide shelter to flood victims and are cooperating to send food, clothes, hygiene products and other relief materials.
9. Turning Wedding Venue into Relief Camp
Even though this Kerala family has called off their wedding, but it is for good this time. This story shows us that a simple act of kindness can save lives.
A native of Neelamperoor in Kurichy near Kottayam, K J Jaydeep’s wedding was scheduled on Sunday, August 19. Jayadeep was all set to marry Surya Sarath, daughter of Dr. Sarath and Sreelatha Sarath in Vechoochira but the precarious situation due to incessant rains didn’t allow it to happen.
Jaydeep came up with a unique idea, instead of sitting at home and wallowing in pity for the flood victims, he decided to turn his wedding venue into a relief camp in Vechoochira, as the nearby areas were either waterlogged or submerged due to floods, mentioned Manorama.
Even the roads leading to the venue were flooded and disconnected which forced the families to take such steps and postpone marriage related ceremonies. Till a relief camp was opened nearby, the pandal functioned as a temporary kitchen to prepare food for flood survivors.
A new date of the wedding has been decided on September 2 which is slated to take place on the same venue and at the same time.
In case you wish to contribute or plan to provide any help to the flood-hit victims, kindly contact Jaydeep @ 8848868110
10. Canceling Daughter’s Engagement to donate money to Relief Fund
This story will tell you why you need to set your priorities right. Witnessing such devastating results of Kerala floods, a journalist decided to cancel his daughter’s engagement and chose to contribute the money to the CM’s Distress Relief Fund instead.
Manoj, who is the resident editor of Deshabhimani, the CPI(M)’s mouthpiece canceled the engagement after discussing with his daughter’s fiance’s family, which was slated to be held in Kannur on Sunday, August 19, mentioned a national daily.
Through a Facebook post, Manoj shared the message that -“The engagement and ring exchange of my daughter Devi and that of Advocate Sudhakaran, son Advocate Gokul, was scheduled for August 19. But considering the unprecedented natural disaster which Kerala has been facing, the function is being canceled. We, both the families, have decided to donate the money set aside for that to the Distress Relief Fund of the Chief Minister.”
11. Actor Siddharth’s ‘Kerala Donation Challenge’
In the time of bizarre internet challenges, actor Siddharth Suryanarayan has too started a challenge, but a meaningful one, to draw attention to Kerala’s plight due to floods and landslides.
Seeing that the state has been battered by the worst floods, actor Siddharth launched a ‘Kerala Donation Challenge’.
The actor posted a tweet on August 17 along with the bank letter that shows his contribution towards Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (Govt of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram). He wrote- “I did the #KeralaDonationChallenge. It was awesome! Will you? Please?”
Further, the tweet also had a letter pleading people to step up and help. It said, “It is our duty as Indians to do what we can to help our people in Kerala. Every rupee counts towards making a difference. I believe social media has that special power to create magical movement overnight.”
Not just that, his also asked people to “post your donation proof” and encourage others. “We all know how much the internet loves a challenge,” he added.
I dare you. I beg of you!
What do I have to do to make you read and share this?
I did the #KeralaDonationChallenge
It was awesome!
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) August 16, 2018
12. Marriages in Relief Camps
Finding space for little happiness is a rare sight in Kerala but not for this couple. Even though the situations are tough to handle where people are either starving or dying, the hope among people has not been shaken.
On Sunday, amid chaos in the state due to floods, a young couple who was taking shelter in the relief camp in Malappuram district got married. At a nearby temple, Anju tied the knot with Saiju in front of her relatives and others from the relief camp, mentioned IANS report. Trustee of the same temple also agreed to provide a sumptuous wedding meal.
While talking to the media, one of the bride’s relative told, “Three-fourths of our house is submerged in water. Initially, we decided to postpone the marriage. But when we got the support of the people here, we decided to go ahead as planned.”
According to the report, similar marriages have also taken place in Thirunavaya and Nilambur relief camps in Malappuram district. This district is one of the worst-hit areas in Kerala and till now 30,000 persons have taken shelter in 183 relief camps in the state.
How Digital Solutions became handy
Be it sharing location on WhatsApp or using google location and tracking, no stone has been left unturned in rescuing flood victims. Social media and apps have played an extremely important role, these digital solutions worked like wonders. These have assisted the authorities to assist those in need.
While the state government is using Google Maps to rescue people by providing an option to share their location if help is needed, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has asked people to send their locations on the specific mobile numbers provided by the organization.
Apart from that one can use Keralarescue.in, another initiative by the state government that allows people to seek relief as well as to offer help. You will get all in one place- be it finding a relief center or requests for help, getting contact information, making a donation, volunteer for their services.
Also, Person Finder by Google has become a blessing for flood victims in Kerala. This tool comes in handy in natural disasters like floods where people want to provide or find more information about family members or friends.
While talking to Firstpost, the founder of Bengaluru-based NGO Drive Without Borders, Waseem Memon told how media can be used in an effective manner during calamities. “During the 2015 Chennai floods, we raised nearly Rs 28 lakh as a contribution. We are currently doing the same for Kerala floods as well,” he said.
Also, celebrities and top officials, influencers, activists are using hashtags like #KeralaFloods, #KeralaRelief, #StandWithKerala to raise awareness about the plight of people in the state and asking people to donate necessary relief items, cash. Many have also shared the helpline numbers and safe locations in Kerala.
On Saturday, after taking an aerial survey in Kerala’s Kochi, PM Modi tweeted “In Kerala, I took stock of the situation arising in the wake of the devastating floods across the state. Joined a review meeting and undertook an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by flooding. The nation stands firmly with Kerala in this hour.”
In Kerala, I took stock of the situation arising in the wake of the devastating floods across the state.
Joined a review meeting and undertook an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by flooding.
The nation stands firmly with Kerala in this hour. pic.twitter.com/PFeWTTZAwl
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 18, 2018
How you can Help and Contribute
1. Donate to Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund
2. Donate through independent websites: