Hundreds still struggling to recover from Cyclone Vardah, here’s what you can do to help

NGO Rapid Response has been distributing food packages and relief materials to villagers in Thiruvottiyur and Pulicat, but faces a shortage of funds.
Hundreds still struggling to recover from Cyclone Vardah, here’s what you can do to help
Hundreds still struggling to recover from Cyclone Vardah, here’s what you can do to help
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A week after Cyclone Vardah, the most powerful cyclone to hit Chennai recently, made landfall, things are slowly returning to normal. But in some of the worst hit areas of Thiruvottiyur, relief operations still continue thanks to a Chennai-based non-government organization, Rapid Response.

However, Rapid Response has now hit a difficult roadblock – a lack of funds to continue its initiatives.

Speaking to The News Minute, Mohammad Farukh, the 35-year-old CEO of Rapid Response, says, “We have distributed about 2000 food packages and 350 relief kits in the villages in Thiruvottiyur. We require funds of about Rs 11 lakh to provide relief kits and blankets to 800 families in Thiruvottiyur and Pulicat.”

Each relief kit costs Rs 1000, he explains. “It contains rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, wheat and other food items. The relief kits will cost about Rs 8 lakh, and Rs 3 lakh for mattresses and blankets,” he said.

He added that Rapid Response has started off a crowd-funding campaign, and is also making appeals to corporate organisations for financial help for the initiative.

The Rapid Response team is currently carrying out operations in Thiruvottriyur, and will then move on to villages in Pulicat. “We have a project management office in Pulicat. The villages in the coastal areas have been badly affected, and we have been working with them for years now,” he said.

One of the biggest problems in the area, says Mohammad, is the temporary loss of livelihood for the villagers. “Their livelihood has been badly affected. Most of the people living in these areas are daily wage workers, and work in small shops around these areas. They have been shut for the last one week due to the lack of electricity. These people do not have money at all and are struggling to survive,” he said.

Moreover, in the coastal villages in Pulicat, the huts and boats of numerous fishermen sustained heavy damage, leaving the people dependent on them struggling.

Rapid Response began to conduct relief work from the time of the Uttarakhand floods in 2013. “We have helped people during the Bihar and Assam floods, and also the Chennai floods last year. So, we know the needs of the people during natural disasters and want to continue to help people,” said Mohammad.

You can access the Rapid Response campaign on Ketto, here

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