Coping with Hudhud

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This was the third natural devastation India has seen in the last 18 months. After Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir were pounded by torrential rains, the cyclone Hudhud, named by Oman after Israel’s national bird, has caused colossal damage to coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram were the worst hit cities in this southern State. “And even though there wasn’t a single ­Rotarian in our District (3020) who was not hit by this cyclone in one way or another, many Rotarians forgot their personal misery and came together to help the worst affected victims of this natural disaster,” says DG Dr Mohan Prasad G V.

Rotarians clearing the path.
Rotarians clearing the path.

Government estimates of the damage caused runs to about $10 billion. “Visakhapatnam, the biggest city in District 3020 was at the epicentre of the destruction. Winds of 230 kmph ripped open the homes and businesses of thousands of people. Almost all Rotarians — about 2,000 from 30 Rotary clubs in the affected area — experienced great hardship and property losses. Disrupted power and flooding still continue in some of the areas.”

In a recent meeting, senior Rotary leaders like PRIP Kalyan, PRIP Raja Saboo, TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta, RIDE Manoj Desai, RID PT ­Prabhakar, PRID Yash Pal Das, PRID Sekhar Mehta, promised support to Dr. Prasad for constructing 250 low-cost shelters for the victims.

Workers assembling food kits.
Workers assembling food kits.

The destruction of property is colossal and many people are left both without homes and properties. While every aspect of human life is affected by Hudhud’s fury, the most severely affected are the schools in rural areas.

The fishing community too has borne the brunt of nature’s fury as their boats and fishing nets, and along with them their livelihoods, have been washing out.

In the wake of the calamity Dr Prasad has constituted a committee to help the victims and channelise relief and rehabilitation activities. Rotary clubs in the Vijayawada region rushed relief material. Lorries carrying biscuits, water packets, and rice were rushed immediately, with clubs pitching in. RC Anakapalle sent in drinking water tankers and food kits, RC Nuzivid Mango Town sent 15 tons of rice, RC Visakha Port City ­distributed clothes, food kits and organised a mobile generator to pump water out of houses. Rtn K S Narayana handed over a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Portable UF water purifying units manufactured at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune (praised by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam for simplicity and efficacy) were also sent to Vizag by RI Districts 3140 and 3150.

Distribution of rice bags to cyclone victims.
Distribution of rice bags to cyclone victims.

District Assistant Governor Y V Chowdary in association with GLOW (a humanitarian organisation) donated Rs 25 lakh for setting up tree guards. Rotarians distributed bedsheets, milk and bread worth Rs 1.3 lakh and physically helped in clearing trees that had fallen on roads and homes. With help from the NTR Trust and NRI Institute of Medical Sciences, 41 medical camps were held in ­Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam where 40,000 people were given assistance.

In its hour of need the victims of coastal Andhra need your help. Please send your cheques drawn in favour of ROTARY DISTRICT 3020 HUDHUD CYCLONE RELIEF FUND, A/c No.129611100000715, IFS Code ANDB0001296 to Andhra Bank, Prabodha Book Centre Branch, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

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