Year after year, natural and man-made disasters wreak havoc on us causing irreparable damage to lives and property. While preventing natural disasters may be challenging, arming ourselves with adequate relief and rehabilitation measures is possible, and extremely crucial.
India has been adversely affected by several natural disasters. Delving into the pages of history, one finds that Kerala is no stranger to such unprecedented devastation. It faced the fury of the floods that occurred in 1924, and in 2018, it was once again adversely affected by floods of far greater magnitude than its predecessor.
In August 2018, severe floods affected Kerala due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon. These caused severe damage to more than 1 lakh buildings. Many lives were lost and over 1.4 million people displaced, who sought shelter in 3,000+ relief camps. The devastating floods were regarded as the worst deluge of the century. All 14 districts were severely affected with 10,000 kms of roads and highways and several bridges washed away. In addition to the loss of infrastructure, the floods ravaged the state’s agriculture causing massive loss of tea and rubber plantations.
The Confederation of Indian Industry, (CII) and CII Foundation have been working pan India to provide relief and rehabilitation measures, engaging corporate India and working closely with state governments and other agencies for its initiatives. Post relief, the rehabilitation projects are implemented by CII Foundation in consultation with key stakeholders including the government.
Responding to the crisis in Kerala, CII Foundation worked closely with CII, its members, and the state government to mobilise immediate support to the flood victims. It set up a special Task Force under the leadership of its former Presidents, Mr S Gopalakrishnan and Dr Naushad Forbes for this comprehensive exercise.
1400 volunteers from CII member companies and 200 members of Young Indians (Yi), a CII initiative, participated in providing immediate relief measures. 400 CII Member companies extended their support in cash or kind. Three Emergency Response Centres were set up in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Chennai for demand assessment and relief work coordination. 60 Relief Camps were set up in 10 Districts, and 10 warehouses in Kerala were set up to stock and distribute 400 tonnes of relief material transported from various parts of the country. People from all over the world contributed in whatever way they could. Ensuring and enabling access to the supplies in the flood affected areas, 20 collection, aggregation and forwarding centres were established pan India.
Moreover, in response to a special request of the Government of Kerala, CII provided gloves, large quantities of bleaching powder, water purification tablets, disinfectants, personal hygiene products and medicines, RO plants and mobile toilets, which were set up at several locations, and airlifted and delivered over 8,000 pairs of gumboots, aiding more than 20,000 families.
Envisaging long-term and sustained impact, CII Foundation is now channeling its efforts towards the rehabilitation interventions aimed at restoration of Government run education and health facilities in some of the worst hit areas of Ernakulum district, directly reaching out to over 5 lakh beneficiaries annually.
Proper disaster management is paramount to minimize the devastation caused and CII and CII Foundation remain at the forefront to provide relief and rehabilitation measures.