After several days of heavy rains which lashed through parts of Telangana and Andhra, and with the city of Hyderabad facing heavy flooding, the state government and disaster management teams including the army are only bracing up for more rains ahead. But in the meanwhile, citizens of Hyderabad have spontaneously come together to help those in need.
Ashish Jain, a member of Jain Youth Mandal is one of them. He started helping flood victims with food, and prepared 500 food packets on day 1. On Sunday, he is prepared 4000 food packets.
“Few days back my number went viral on Twitter, and several people contacted me saying they want to volunteer. I am also getting calls from older people, saying they are ready to volunteer to prepare food packets,” says Ashish.
He has been coordinating with several people over phone and distributed around 5000 food packets on Saturday. “Many volunteers are coordinating with me, and I don't even know most of their names. I got a thank you messages from those who are working on ground helping people, saying they received the food packets,” he added.
Mahesh V, founder of Nava Sevak, is one of the volunteers Ashish is coordinating with. Mahesh and his team are working in different areas of Hyderabad like Nizampet, Begumpet, Allan, Balannagar, Malkajgiri, Kukatpally and Amam colony. “Around hundred people are working on Sunday, 10 to 15 people are volunteering in each area. We distributed 1500 food packets by noon,” says Mahesh. They have been providing people with biriyani, biscuits and drinking water. On Sunday they also distributed milk packets.
On Saturday, Film stars too joined the effort. According to a report in Times Of India:
The Movie Artistes' Association (MAA) and individual film stars took the initiative to reach out to flood-affected people. MAA president G Rajendra Prasad, Vice-president Shivaji Rao and others went to Alwyn colony and distributed food packets and water to people. Actors Rana Daggubati, Navdeep, Manchu Lakshmi and Manchu Manoj also reached out to the victims.
Azhar Maqsusi and 8 other volunteers are helping people of Nizampet and Bandari layout by providing water and food packets. He says that NGOs and political leaders are providing help in Nizampet, so a lot of food is getting wasted. “We have stopped providing food packets in this area, as NGOs and other people are already doing it,” he says, “It is good to see how people in Hyderabad are reaching out to help each other. Social media also played a major role.”
“Initially we sent a group of volunteers to gauge the requirement of those stranded. After that we began sending out relief material such as blankets, food packets, drinking water, medical aid etc. in areas such as Uppuguda, Sadat Nagar, Peerzadiguda and Alwal," Sabah Quadri, coordinator of Help Hyderabad told TOI.
Even stray dogs are getting help. Purnima Sriram Iyer, a journalist, took the initiative to feed some of them. She spent around 40 liters milk and 80 packets of biscuits to feed stray dogs in different areas. “I am a dog lover, and I feel people can speak out and reach out for help but these stray dogs can’t,” she says, “They don’t have food because their main source of food are the leftovers on the street. Now everything is washed away so I go out and feed them with curd rice, milk or whatever is available.”
Several restaurants, like Grill 9 in Karkhana, are also reported to have distributed free food.