Relief Camp

BY Anitha Srinivasan

Relief Camp: Srimathi Ramkuwar Devi Fomra Vivekananda Vidyalaya
Place: Chennai
Date: Dec 5, 2015

It was a rainy Sunday morning, and I reached my school in Chromepet at ten a.m. carrying essential medicines for people affected by the flood. I then joined my relief team comprising six members. We headed for Chemmanchery, one of the hardest hit areas. We loaded our cars with food packets for 300, water bottles and medicines and other essential relief materials.

Time: 11:45 am
Target area: Chemmanchery

On our way, we stopped near Thoraipakam junction after noticing some victims who had taken shelter in an under-construction apartment. We offered them food – fifty people in all. Next we drove towards Chemmanchery but quickly realized that our car’s engine was getting flooded, but somehow we managed. Once we reached the Chemmanchery junction and drove ahead, our car began floating because of the water that was knee deep (I am 5ft 5in). The current was so strong, and we could not decide what to do. People soon stopped us.

Our car knocked so hard! A friend got down and was told they were not given any food, water or milk; that all things were given only to those who are further inside and that we should give all our food only to them. They started opening our car. To avoid complications we gave away all our stuff to them and drove back the car.

On our way back we spoke to a guy to understand why there was so much problem in Chemmanchery. He was busy fishing! He told us that people near the junction were not letting the relief vehicles further inside and that they were taking all stuff themselves.

We are still not sure whether we gave our stuff to people who suffered or to someone who is going to sell all the stuff that were taken from things.

Place: Ashok Leyland Limited
Date: Dec 10, 2015
Target Area: Naduveeranpattu
Time: 2:45 pm

I got a call about an orphanage that was almost forgotten for nearly three days. It was just another busy day at Ashok Leyland, where I work. The orphanage in Naduveeranpattu, beyond Mudichur, contacted my commerce teacher, who was already active in relief work. My teacher sounded helpless as the caretaker of the orphanage sobbed about their state. They had forgone breakfast lunch and dinner for three days owing to non-availability of supplies. I assured my teacher I would help. I contacted the people I knew if they could be of assistance. Mark it, the location of the orphanage itself was not that easy for a group like us to reach before sunset!

In an impulse, I went to the head of the team managing the relief works from the office, with my issue. After a tiresome 1-hour journey, we reached the orphanage. It was in a very pathetic condition. They had no electricity and hygiene was an unknown factor as the flood had either washed away or damaged nearly everything they had. The children had slept on the moist bare floors without proper clothes. They were lost for words on seeing the mats, blankets, clothes, food and other supplies we had provided. The caretaker became very emotional and gave us his heartfelt blessings. To see the children happily sharing amongst them the food and clothes and the elders equally caring for them and others made us feel minuscule!

That moment I was grateful to God and my company for giving me this unforgettable experience of being the reason for the smiles of the neglected children and elders here!

Anita Srinivasan

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