The beginning of August saw heavy rainfall and severe floods in parts of Kerala. Wayanad, Kozhikode and Idukki were on red alert and five other districts on orange. To top it all, an Air India aircraft from Dubai made a disastrous landing at Kozhikode due to a flooded runway and poor visibility caused by heavy rains; 18 died and many were wounded. Landslides in the Munnar and Rajamala hills in Idukki district killed over 70 people and injured several more.
Around the same time, heavy rains lashed the Niligiri hills in Tamil Nadu too. Overflowing dams flooded several villages. Gudalur and Pandalur were the worst hit and hundreds of tribal families lost their belongings. Firefighters had to move them to safer locations.
With little financial support owing to the pandemic and lockdown, the orphanage was in dire straits and we were glad to be of help.
— P S Prakash
Assistant governor, RID 3202
In both the regions, Rotarians rose to the occasion to help the flood victims. Forty-seven Rotary clubs of Tirupur, led by RC Tirupur West, RID 3202, coordinated to help 400 families in the Gudalur valley. “We packed sets of 24 items, including clothes, groceries and toiletries, a bedsheet and pillow, some candles and a torchlight in carton boxes, and loaded them in a van,” says assistant governor P S Prakash. A total of ₹800,000 was crowdfunded by the clubs to meet the cost.
Ten Rotarians drove up to the village braving the Covid lockdown. “We could not get the mandatory e-passes. The RTO revenue inspector and the Gudalur DSP Jeysingh helped us reach the village without hiccups and helped us in the distribution for two days.” Throughout the journey they could see fallen trees, landslides and eroded roads.
Prakash adds that later the team sent 25 bags of rice, 300 bedsheets and 25 sets of mattresses and pillows to an orphanage in Coonoor at Jeysingh’s request. “With little financial support owing to the pandemic and lockdown, the orphanage was in dire straits and we were glad to be of help.” They sent 400 bedspreads to Kochi where RID 3201 has set up a Covid care centre and 200 face shields were provided to the Tirupur General Hospital for the protection of the frontline staff.
In Kerala, members of RC Kottayam, RID 3211, distributed essential items such as rice, wheat flour, dal, cooking oil, sugar, onions and toiletries to 70 flood-hit families in Chengalam and Veloor hamlets near Kottayam. “Some areas were still inundated and we could access the homes only on country boats,” says club secretary Sarat Valsraj.