FLOOD IN KERALA IN AUGUST 2018 AND THE RELIEF PROGRAM OF MANJUMMEL PROVINCE
From the first days of August the uninterrupted torrential rains in Kerala created havoc causing floods and landslides, claiming lives, and displacing thousands. All the dams were full and water was released from around 35 dams. From 15th August 2018 water began to rise and by 17th August waters covered many surfaces.
Five of our houses were directly affected by the flood. At Annamanada waters had reached the window level of the refectory. At Calicut the ground floor had 3ft of water. At Aluva the water came up to the main garden of the monastery after immersing Atmadarshan and the surroundings. At Varapuzha water did not enter the Church, but the ground floor of the monastery had one feet of water. At Jyotir Bhavan the ground floor the quarters of sisters was immersed in water filling also the underground rooms of Kitchen. Concerning the families of our friars 48 of them were affected. This was true also of the families of some of our sisters in the Cloistered Carmels and of more than ten of our students at various stages of formation.
DECISION OF THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL
The provincial Council met on 18th August and decided on an integral project for the relief work and integrated the particular initiatives under the common project. It decided on an estimate of 2 crore for a step by step realization of the relief work. The money is to be collected from our communities and institutions and from the communities abroad and from the possible donors and benefactors. It was pledged that accountability and strictness to purpose will be taken care of in the administration of money. The letters with the information were dispatched immediately the first stage will be cooperation to clean up the houses and then to help the people go back to their homes and have the initial settling down. This includes the provision for food for some days in the families. The second step is facilitating the repair, maintenance and painting of the houses according to need and to make the toilettes and kitchens functional. Some houses which needs major repair needs to be identified and plan for their reconstruction to be organized at a later stage.
ORGANIZATION OF FLOOD CAMPS AND PARTICIPATION IN RESCUE OPERATIONS
The flood-hit regions required urgent relief in the form of drinking water, food, clothes, medicines and emergency supplies. Our three schools at Manjummel Guardian Angels Higher Secondary School, Guardian Angels’ Public School and Guardian angels’ UP school, Little Flower Press, St. Joseph’s Hospital served as relief camps for 12 days for the families hit by the ravages of flood. Four of our school buses were at the service of the local authority for the rescue operations for three days. Camp was organized also at Mulavukad and families were hosted at Ernakulam, Aluva, Kara and so on. At Aluva, the auditorium of Sacred Heart Philosophy College was opened for all. Around 30 neighbours (Hindu Families) stayed here for 7 days.
Jyotir Bhavan Community from the very first day of the unexpected flood tragedy all most all the members of JyotirBhavan engaged in the flood relief work. On the first day along with the volunteers the priests were taking control of the traffic at Puthiyaroad, Kalamassery, forgetting the dreadful situation of our own house. Our vehicles were used as rescue vehicles according to the need. The community of Varapuzha actively organized the rescue operations saving many people caught up in the houses and the elderly ones in the home for the ages and in the home for the differently abled.
MEDICAL SERVICE BY OUR HOSPITAL
Our St. Joseph Hospital defined itself &proved that it is a mission hospital visiting nearby six relief camps giving free service of doctors, nurses and medicines. The total estimated expense is as follows: Medicine at camps- Rs. 2, 55,000/- medical treatment at the Hospital- Rs.1,75,000/-Ambulance service- Rs.7,5000/- , Generator service – Rs. 1,25,000/-, tetanus injection 2000 and immediate help to the staff Rs. 4,00,000/- the total amount spent comes about Rs.10,50000/-
As the water was receding the priests along with the Spirituality sisters and the B.Th students cleaned various houses at Eloor, Manjummel, Kongorpilly, Olanad, etc. JyotirBhavan compound was opened as the parking place for the neighbours. The house became center for collecting the materials for flood relief programs. Some of our members are still engaged in the flood relief activities.
The Philosophy students of Aluva, more than forty of them, were actively immersed in the cleaning mission at Varapuzha, Manjummel and so on. Their contribution was unique and complete. Surely it was also a worthwhile formative experience and social exposure.
Holy Family Church at Ernakulum donated to the province an amount of Rs. 1,45,000/- . The collection towards this project still continues. We have supplied 200 food kits in Varapuzha, Panayikulam areas. Besides dress materials and food provisions that were collected through the Holy family church were also distributed.
Our friars and Carmel Youth Movement (CYM) took part in the clean-up mission in the flood affected area.
Fathers at CRC community played the role to take position in the flood affected region to meet the contingencies arising out of the calamity and to arrange relief measures. Supervised and provided rescue shelters and food at CRC and Little flower press, Manjummel. They also
monitored restoration and rehabilitation work of the damaged properties and habitation at Kainikkara Village and Eloor Chawk for 6 days.
Rapid needs for food, clothes and pulses for cooking were carried out in a small quantity at Eloor Chawk Village in a few families.
Social service department of our province organized a cleanup mission of families who are financially poor and deprived of the presence of strong men at home. Students from Philosophy college, Aluva, Theology college, JyotirBhavan and Fr. Antony Ponvelil, Fr. Wilson Srampickal Fr. Titus, Fr. Thomas Marotti, Fr. Joseph Maroti, Fr. Varghese Kanichukatttu, Fr.Bosco Coreya, Fr. Hippolitus, Fr. Praveen D cúnja, Fr. Éarnest and Fr. Nixon formed strong team of 85 to lead the mission. Nearly 30 houses at Manjummel, Eloor, Olanad, Muttinagam were cleaned in three days. It was a unique experience for everyone to feel one with the dejected people around us.
With regard to the flood relief work Stella Maris community, Mulavukad have given shelters to 49 persons from different places like Mulavukadu, kothadu, pizhala and Eloor of different age groups. They opened the parlour, gust room just in front of the rparlor and the top of the building. On 19th of August another group of 22 persons from Kotuvally, Koonammavuetc came but due to the cancellation of camp at Ponnarimangalam parish we had to take them to naval camp at cochin. From 20th to 26 they provided food to average 700 people in paravoor area where people were residing outside camps without any food or water etc. from 21st onwards a free “Thattukada” (Hotel) was opened for the people at night. It continued to 26th. Apart from this we supplied dress and toilet articles too. In order to support their life movement we prepared 500 food row packets to distribute.
In Kottayam region our community at Good Shepherd gave the lead. Between Natakam and Kuravilangad, within a distance of 20 Kms, we visited 11 relief camps, supplied food packets, food provisions, clothes and drinking water to nearly 500 people for 4 days.
When the water subsided and people returned to their houses, they supplied 300 Karunya kits worth Rs.500. Besides this, they supplied food materials, clothes and drinking water to Varapuzha, Manjummel and our Novitiate House.
Together with this, they collected and handed over Rs. 75,000 to the Diocesan Relief activities and Rs .15,000 to the “Pidiyarichoru” project of the Province. In total, Good Shepherd Church has spent almost Rs.4 lakhs, in cash and materials, for the flood relief activities.
The community of Kara was actively involved in the relief work They had accommodated in their monastery 18 persons for a couple of days. The vehicle was used to transport people from the flooded houses to the camps and the houses of relatives. They also donated Rs. 500000 to the organizers of two camps. They distributed clothes especially inner garments to those who are in camps.
Tiruvalla community too was involved helping the flood hit families. A family stayed in the outhouse of the convent as their house was completely damaged in the flood. They also gave material help to the unfortunate persons in need of help..
The program “Pidiyarichoru” mentioned above was realized in its first phase with the generous support and service of many fathers and benefactors. The rice and dal and coffee powder and sugar came from various corners and enough for more than 1500 packets which were packed by the volunteers such as men and women, children and the youth in an atmosphere of festival enjoying the service for the suffering brothers and sisters. The packents have reached the destinations at Manjummel, Muttinakom, Varapuizha, Chennur, Chariyanthuruth, Gothuruth, Chennamangalam, kottuvally, Pizhala, Panaiykulam, Kongorpilly etc. The second phase will begin soon and then it will become a normal social work program of TIDE.
GRATITUDE TO HELPERS, DONORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
We cannot thank enough all our volunteers, helpers, donors and benefactors. All have been generous with service, time, cash and kind and unlimited support which was all incredibly selfless and joyful. Donations from India and abroad are still coming and we will publish the accounts too for your information at the end of the realization of the projects.
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