Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dêstïnäitións !! less travelled !!!

Rains, rains & more rains...floods everywhere, crops washed away, villages went missing without a trace. This was the situation in the two south Indian states, karnataka & Andhra pradesh, around a month back. Millions of people displaced, crops worth several crores lost in disgrace. It was one of the worst calamities to hit mainly these two states.

This was a kind of opportunity to Philanthropic people, to show up their humanitarian gestures. Similar kind of an idea was flashed to my colleague, which was executed. Let me try to narrate our emotions from this journey, emotions of our Philanthropic journey to the never land, a journey which never ends, a kind of journey you would remember for the rest of your life.
It was around midnight on that Wednesday night when we were done with packing all the relief material on to our transporter (tempo traveler). We had 250 new blankets, which was the major part of the luggage. There were lot of clothes, utensils & food grains collected through the employee donations. We left the city at midnight in between some traffic snarls.

We reached our destination, Bellary (North east Karnataka) which is around 300 Kms from Bangalore, at around 7:30 AM. Thanks to the arrangements made by the FPA (a NGO along with which we were carrying out the relief work) in their hospital at Bellary.

Finally, along with the FPA director & volunteers, we started off to a flood affected village, Suggenahalli shaarada nagara, around 30 kms on the Hospet - Bellary highway. Bad roads did convey us the sad story of how the rains have affected the life of farmers here. Yes, the major occupation of people around this area is agriculture with Paddy being the major crop.

Lush green fields

After the hard journey of 1 hour, we reached a river bridge, which was no longer serving the purpose of being a bridge. It was washed off completely to an unrecognizable state. We had to walk across the stream to reach the village, where in, around 150 needy families were looking up to the relief material we had carried. Their grim faces did narrate the agony brought in by the devastating rains. Continuous rains & a breach in the nearby Darojee lake reservoir caused havoc around the surrounding areas. Flooding waters washed away the entire crop on its worst journey ever.

Ill fated bridge

We had lot more sad stories to hear, had lot more agonies to see. Our team had a shocker when we came across a house, which used to be prosperous before the floods. Heavy winds accompanied by the gushing waters had brought the roof down, taking away the life of an infant, leaving its mother in grief for the rest of her life.

Best part we noticed in this poor village was their unity at times of distress. They were organized in using the relief material, which they least got. They stored all the material at one place & used it wisely among themselves without creating any hassles unlike some other villages.

After a brief talk to the villagers we were off to another affected village on the banks of Lake Darojee. One thing common was the bridges, which connect these villages to the major cities, were completely damaged beyond repair. “That moment was like a nightmare. Not just the waters, we even witnessed snakes coming along” said an elderly person from the village. Many had lost the hard earned crops stored in the front yards of their homes. Nature’s fury was at its worst. People had pleasant smiles in their eyes, even though what we had to give them was nothing compared to what they had lost. It was quite a better lesson we learnt on how to deal with life at times of distress.

We did visit the Darojee lake reservoir, where all the damage had begun. Construction had already begun to contain the water from flowing further. Main wall of the reservoir, which was constructed around 4 centuries ago, failed to contain the water which was filled to the maximum capacity. Lot of bridges were washed away in the flooding waters making it difficult , I would say near to impossible rather, for the relief workers & material to be transported to the affected villages. At one point, a truck loaded with construction material for make shift homes, had collapsed on a narrow bridge blocking the way for almost a day. God forbid anything like this from happening to anyone again.

The breach

Damage control in progress

We were so much involved with this activity that it was almost half past four when we even thought of having lunch. Believe me it was a satisfying day so far. We drove back to our base camp. It was around 7 PM when we went to buy the utensils, which were to be distributed to the suggenahalli villagers, the next day.
By the way, i am Mak (maksood, but better called as Mak). This is my first blog. Hope to be active blogger from now on. See you. :)