Lions club of Bhandup Xavierities



From 8th August 2018, massive floods affected the South Indian state of Kerala due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flood in Kerala over a century. Over 483 people were dead & 14 missing .The Indian Govt.has declared as a Level 3 calamity or “a calamity of severe nature” All 14 districts were placed on red alert. Thirty four out of the thirty five dams were opened for the first time.  The calamity was unimaginable. No words to describe. Help was pouring in from all over the world but unfortunately was not reaching the affected. Lions Club of Bhandup then decides to visit Kerala instead of just sending donation to the Chief Ministers Fund.

  Lions Club Bhandup Xavierities decides to conduct relief work at ground zero amongst the most affected areas in Kerala.

The team of Lions Club of Bhandup chalks out a detailed plan. They contact Matoshree  Seva Trust in Bhandup for arranging doctors & volunteers. The trustee at first seems reluctant as the ground situation in Kerala is very bad. The risk quotient is very high. We try hard to convince them & since the Club President & Secretary are planning to accompany the team they finally agree. 

With the help & guidance from Lion Members, friends & well-wishers we collect essential food grains like rice, wheat, dal, medicines & clothes etc. We also raise funds from friends & like-minded individuals.

MJF DG Lion KJ Paul is apprised of the activity on the evening of 24th Aug, 2018. On 25th morning around 10.00 am he visits the local area where the Club plans to flag off the truck loaded with essentials. He inspects the contents in the truck & feels that he can add to the relief material. He immediately helps with organizing essential supplies from APMC market Navi Mumbai through his contacts. He also shares his Lions contacts in Chenganoor. 

The truck is sent to Navi Mumbai for loading with two volunteers & the rest of the team proceeds for the railway station to board the train scheduled at 4.30 pm.With multiple loading points at APMC the team completes the loading in the nick of time & the two volunteers rush to Kalyan station to board the train in the last minute. It is said that if your intentions are good, God will show the way.

The Kerala Relief team  armed with a team of three doctors & twelve volunteers leave for Chenganoor in Kerala on 25th August, 2018.In the meantime the trustee of MAST gets a contact in Nashik who is willing to contribute with items like rice, dal & mineral water. The truck driver is contacted midway & a diversion is planned to load the items. A team of volunteers also join us at midnight from Ratnagiri. Interestingly, the train we were travelling was the first train to Kerala after the floods. In the train we meet a navy officer who was on rescue duty & he shares his experiences with us.                   

    As the train enters Kerala we see most of the stations are deserted. There are police officers & on each station the train stops & relief materials are being unloaded. We finally reach Chenganoor well past midnight. We get in touch with Lion Saji Abraham & Lion Gopinath from Lions Club of Chenganoor.  As we exit the station ,start our travel we are told that all the hotels are dysfunctional & that they somehow have managed a lodge to accommodate us.  As we travel we realize the gravity of the situation. We also understand that all the local people accompanying us have gone through personal losses. 

We made our intent clear that we will personally be involved in distribution of Relief material & medicines

To conduct medical camp we registered with District Medical Officer Pathanamtitha.

Each day was planned meticulously & we split in teams to complete our task in hand.

All the main restaurants in the area had not started operations after the flood. The small outlets which were open were crowded with limited food. After breakfast the next meal was dinner. The lunch in the afternoons was mostly biscuits & bottled water.We were also informed that there was an outbreak of some disease & we were not immunized as well. Each night after a hard day of activity we all used to have dinner (whatever was available) & chat about the happenings & events of the whole day & look forward for a better tomorrow.

At Pathanamtitha Dist. we met the Block President Mr. Jerry Varghese who was thrilled by our work. He introduced us to his friend Mr.Binu (a Good Samaritan)who offered the backyard of his bungalow for sorting, packing of the food grains for easy distribution. As we were packing, to our utter disbelief we were told that Member of Parliament Mr.Anto Anthony will be meeting us. In afternoon he came to meet us & he was impressed with our preparedness. He & his team were surprised that we had come all the way from Mumbai with a truck full of Relief material. He accompanied us for distribution to some affected areas. Mr.Binu Varghese organized a grand lunch for the entire team with the MP. Our team was having lunch after many days.                                     

An Overall Satisfying & Humbling Experience


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