At around 11 pm on Friday, two huge trucks left from Kochi to make an overnight trip to Chennai. On the trucks were several hundred bags of clothes, blankets, sanitary napkins, diapers, biscuits and water- tons of essential supplies that are unperishable. Goods, however, that are direly needed in flood-marooned parts of Chennai.
These trucks were the result of a two-day mobilisation on Facebook and other forms of social media by a group of samaritans under an umbrella they named 'Anbodu Chennai'.
In less than half an hour after the trucks left, I got a call in New Delhi. "Can you help me organise 40,000 water purifying tabs?" I knew it was for Chennai. "We have organised it, we just need you to be on standby in case the plans to get it fall through".
On Saturday morning, another batch of aid and relief material arranged by Anbodu Chennai reached Chennai from Kerala on three trains.
Image Source: Anbodu Kochi/Facebook
Itâ€™s a small glimpse into the scope and span of the relief materials flowing into Chennai. My Facebook timeline is filled with friends from across India, leading collection drives. And itâ€™s not a plea to give what you can â€“ the list is specific. There is enough of cooked food, the need of the hour is unperishables â€“ food that can be eaten without cooking and saved for later, good quality clothes and water â€“ drinking water, which is scarce in the flooded city.
After hatching a plan on December 3, Anbodu Chennai went about it in an organised fashion â€“ several drop points across the city with names of people, who would be available at the collection point there. And a single telephone number to coordinate the questions people needed answers for.
Apart from the actor couple, Poornima and Indrajith, people from different walks of lives contributed their time and efforts to hasten the collection. Time was of the essence. The actors based in Kochi reached out to their colleagues in Chennai, Karthi and Vishal. It was not enough to mobilise relief, it was equally important to ensure it reached those who needed it the most. Every donor was kept informed about what were the essentials needed, how to pack it and even updated on when their relief material will make its way to Chennai.
Posted by Anbodu Kochi on Saturday, December 5, 2015
In less than a day, Anbodu Chennaiâ€™s flyer had gone viral on Facebook and WhatsApp. People from other parts of Kerala began joining in too. Phone calls streamed in to Anbodu Chennai from Kozhikode and Kottayam asking for directions as to how to help with the effort. Offers were made to bring the collected material to Kochi so that it could be one coordinated effort. More trucks are to leave for Chennai in the coming days â€“ with the first trucks successfully leaving within two days of mobilisation, the template has been firmed up. Civilians to the rescue of others - the bond of humanity wins over regional differences.