Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Schools at relief camps

Education center 1
In the background are the huts, which are temporary centers,
the strength of these schools are around 50. The attendance has been good as they are given clothes, biscuits, stationary, milk ...its a mechanism to sustain the attendance; the school is open for 4 hours daily.

The last picture is of Prathibha, herself a std 11 student and a victim of the flood, she started teaching smaller children.. And now the school has a mix of students from KG to std 8.

We have provided them/are providing books, notebooks, slate, dresses, milk powder, medicines, water purification tablets , biscuits.. to encourage children to spend more time together and learn something.

Food and shelter are provided by Mandan Bharti, Trivenigunj.

School 1
Always happy..they are our inspiration.
Happy parent, schools are on
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Life on embankments..

Darafga embankment is providing shelter to more than a thousand families who could not make  it to the
larger government camps.
Their temporary shelter is made of bamboo sticks supporting clothes or plastic sheets as canopy. Almost
all the huts have a raised platform inside as water is almost kissing the top of embankment..a rise of one feet of water can turn ugly for these folks.
To come in & go out from the embankment one has to either cross waist deep water or use country boats

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Updates day 37-41

Dear friends,
Apologies for the delay in updates. I was traveling to relief camps in Nepal (Bhimnagar & Hamuman nagar) and India ( Trivenigunj, Katihar,Baidhnathpur & Saharsa)

We have received the following between sep24- sep-29th 2k8;
Apologies for the delay.
The following consignments have been received between Sep 25- 29
From Vivek Pandey,Bangalore
  • Torchlights 60 pc with batteries (Eveready citylight) ~60 pc
  • Cerelac Baby food ~ 58 packs
  • Paracetamol tablets ~ Calpol, 1000 tablets
Torches, Vivek,bangalore
Vivek Pandey,Bangalore

From V.R Bhalla
R.P.Jain Road
Mumbai -49

• Cerelac Baby food 240 packs ~ 110 KG~ 14 cartons

From Capegemini, Bangalore
  • Clothes 21 cartons
  • Foodgrain 1carton
  • Biscuits and sugar 1 carton

Thank you all .. it would have been very difficult to carry on without your support.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Update - Day 36

Dear friends,

Consignments received today;

  1. 100 vial testing supply (for water testing kit ) ~sent by Guneshwar, Gandhinagar ( Total cost with refill Rs.12213.00)
  2. One carton of clothes sent by Capegemini, Pune.

Stabilization and rehabilitation;

One month & six days after the embankment at Kusaha went down; a lot of cloud still surrounds the whereabouts of people who should have been accounted by now.

Out of 3.5 million people who are reported to be affected by this deluge, a maximum of one million (very liberal estimate) are taking shelter in relief camps. Many people are reported to have moved on to Places outside the flood zone…How many? 2.5 million?

Twenty five hundred thousand people cannot just move out into thin air …they have to be some where. When and how will we know that? Many people are reported to have gone back to the villages as water receded, how many we do not know !!

It’s a Herculean task and all of us have to chip in.

Psychological counseling is one of the critical factors while addressing stabilization issue. Children are the most vulnerable, specially the ones whose family is missing, those who have seen their loved ones Gone under, those who have faced nature’s wrath huddled with their parent, day in day out, hungry, sick, frightened and confused.

Many of the flood victims are young, teenagers, children.. How can they look forward to a new life with all these emotional baggage and suffering that they have to carry for the rest of their lives?

Psychological counseling at camps has to be provided by the best professionals around; they have to be counseled for a new life ahead.

A lot of work has to be done, and the threat of rise in water level still looms large, Kosi is a late bloomer, it can turn ugly again, lets hope and pray that it does not.

If possible, let us have a skype conf. and share views on how these problems can/should be addressed.

We have given ten lifejackets to Anand Marg Universal Relief Team (AMURT). They had an incident while trying to get in Birpur interior and their boat capsized. Earlier, we had also given them clothes & 12 boxes of chlorine for the 12 camps they are running in interior areas.

We need plastic sheets/trampoline sheets for families’ deeper inside on the embankment.

We also need a tent for our team ( 2-4 person). We cannot stay at the site because of lack of shelter and that means more time is spent traveling and very less time on the actual site.

Darafga embankment, for example, is 300 0dd KM away; we leave Patna by 10pm, drive the whole night and reach the site by 9-10am . We hardly have 4-5 hours as we have to leave the site by 3pm to reach Katihar before sun down. And then 10-12 hours drive back.

I plan to stay on the embankment for 3-4 days; we can get a lot of things done and cover a lot of settlements if we stay at the site.

We have taken a room at Saharsa for storing our supplies, and once/if I have a tent, we’ll have a base there.

My team members will be coming back from their native village by 10 am today (they had gone for ‘Jeetiya’ and ‘Pind daan’) and we will start relief ops again tonight.

CFTRI ,Mysore has some good high energy low volume food packets, if any of us can find out more about them, it will be helpful.

I plan to work on the camps we have touched till December, if need be. I would hope for your continued support till then. I could not have done even 1% of the work, if I didn’t have a positive, pro active, supporting and integrated team like you folks.

Thank you all so much.

Chandan Singh

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Sad Demise of Dr. Chandrakant Patil during Bihar Flood Relief work



"His death has come as a shock to his parents, as he was the main bread earner in the family. His mother is now in hospital because of the shock," said Anil Dudhabhate, general secretary of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD).

Patil's family friend from Dhule, Pramod Bet said that both his parents were in shock. "We are trying to support them and prepare for the last rites," Bet said.
"He was a very friendly and hardworking resident doctor with a keen interest in social work — something he planned to pursue in future," Dudhbhate recalled. Patil's father Umakant works in a mill in Dhule while his younger sister is studying for HSC examination.

We should come forward and give all possible support for Dr. Chandrakant's family. Not only in short term but also long term. He has lost his life for others so now its our moral responsibility to take care of his family. But unfortunately in past we easily use to forget our real hero's, hope this time we'll not do the same...

Guneshwar Anand.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Education centers

Thanks a lot to all our donors, itwould have been very difficult to sustain our little effort without
your help.
Vivek Ji,(Vivek Pandey)thanks so much for all the support and encouragement you have been giving us and e materials you have sent..it helps a lot.
People at Capegemini, your support and prompt dispatch of relief materials have
been really helpful, as has been the quantity & quality of materials that we received and distributed.

There is something about the importance and passion for education in the relief camps which is so
encouraging, and given a bit of support ..there is no limit to the heights this small emerging community commitment can reach.
On the Dafarka embankment, a small classroom started by Pratibha Kumari
has encouraged two more such units on the 4km stretch of temporary shelter
for 1000 odd family living there.
With milk for children,books,notebooks,slate,chessboards,ludo,educational charts
and posters being given to them we expect more students to join these small educational shelters. We plan to start a few more on the nearby embankment settlement in this week.

This is all very exciting, yet humbling, their faith in tomorrow,in government, in you and me..in humanity.
People wait for relief to reach at these places, and any delay kind of makes
you feel guilty.These camps are 310 km away from Patna and detours
because of highway Jams are becoming our biggest pain..but at least we
have a traversable road and a tireless crew to reach out to almost any of these camps.

This is not a regular monsoon flooding. This is a river changing course, taking the shortest route to discharge into the plains..into the ganges..and this river is coming untamed right from the Himalayan kingdom.
This picture( google earth) shows the location of Kosi barrage, with left and right discharge canal system. The white color on the blue river image is SILT. Lots and lots of SILT. Kosi brings in huge amount of silt collected from catchment areas in nepal( ~ 86%) and India(~14%)
Kosi Barrage- right canalKosi barrage, left & right canal discharge
The breach happened about 12 km upstream of the main barrage, at the point where you see one broad blue band across the river bed where the Kosi crosses from the left flank to
right ( pic 4)), almost at center of picture.
The width and location of the breach can be seen in the satellite picture (pic 5)

Kosi Barrage Taming the riverSat.Image of breach,day 8
The width of breach is about 20 km. The new course of Kosi thus formed is
5 times wider than its older version and is slashing right across the heart
of kosi belt, almost perpendicularly south, meeting Ganges near Naugachia.
It almost seems like a ox bow lake of gigantic proportion...but it
isnt. Its something freaky.. the way a 10-20 meter initial breach can change the
course of humanity for more than 20 hundred thousand people ( Yes, thats two million) ...and more..its freaky, its unfortunate, it could have been avoided and its definitely not 'Natural' calamity. This might be the result of cumulation of small oversights from many years in the past.
The future is shaky too, but its something that we can try to shape..cant we ?
We are working on education & childcare in some small distant relief settlements, we aim to build a basic structure for small centers of education. We have already initiated three such centers..and we look forward to do a few more.
We look forward to your help and suggestions.

ALERT : A driving licence,ID card and some important documents belonging to Mr.G.Poornachander of Rajiv chowk, Karimnagar,Hyderabad, Andhra pradesh was found in the clothes sent by Capegemini,(Kolkata/Pune/Mumbai). If anyone knows Mr. G.Poonachander, please ask him to contact us asap.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Life on embankments..

Kosi still hangs around here
Country boats made of Banana trunks ..kids hav transport.
Frail frame of shelter n occupant on embankment   

Kosi still flows around , but the bite is gone..at least near this
embankment. More than a thousand families live here now,

and every passing day..a sort of village is developing out here.

On way to camp

Dafarka Embankment Dafarka Embankment
Dafarka Embankment 

You have to carry supplies through to these camps..and its a 4 km hike
to the other end...its was almost impossible to get anything on the far
end as we were almost mobbed

carrying the supplies through.

The best option was to go early in the morning and start from the other

Dafarka EmbankmentDafarka Embankment   
Dafarka Embankment
Dafarka Embankment

These are schools that have been started at the embankment are really
doing very well..and we plan to provide sustained help to them till
 they are shifted to a permanent place.

Dafarka Embankment

Dafarka Embankment

Dafarka Embankment

Abhay & Guneshwar, both from DA-IICT,Gandhinagar,Gujrat,
volunteered to work with us..traveling all the way down from
Gandhinagar and immediately starting work

on these camps non stop for the last five days. Its been incredibly
pleasurable and inspiring to have them here..and as they leave us..we
are more

determined to carry on the education centers started, funded and
inspired by them.

Dafarka Embankment

Dafarka Embankment

Dafarka Embankment

Dafarka Embankment

Anand Bhadani is a M.Tech student and Guneshwar is a P.hD scholar at
DA-IICT, Gandhinagar.

Items Received/Purchased - today

Iteams received From Mr.Vivek Pandey, JP Nagar B'lore

12 KG Cerelac baby food

Bentadine (Povidone iodine ointment)
Silverex anti bacterial cream
Electrol ORS sachets
Items Received From Capegemini, Mumbai

51 boxes of clothes,food,shelter materials
Sent by Mr.Tulsi Dicholkar
Capegemini consulting India Pvt Ltd
B-3, Godrej Industries Complex
EEH, Vikroli E, Mumbai 79

Iteam purchased by Chandan at 
Amul baby milk powder : 30 kg in 200gm sachets : Cost Rs 11025.00
This purchase has been made on behalf of NGO "PRAYAAS" Bangalore
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bihar Flood Relief : Update from Baidhnathpur Relief Camp and Nearby area

Email from Chandan
Team distributed Books, notebooks, pencils,erasers, ludo, chess, football etc for children/kids at Baidhnathpur Govt. relief Camp.
After distributing the stationary and toys the team left (two hours late) for Dafarka embankment. Today was good, as now it has three small centers of education on that 4 km strip, as compared to only one, yesterday. The strength at these Centers went up by around 20 children/kids at each place. Because of the milk that's being provided to children/kids by our team. More kids are expected after slates and pencil were distributed in these centers today.
Guneshwar has done exceedingly well in his approach for having more education centers in these conditions... its showing..and its very encouraging.

Clothes sent by Capegemini( from Pune & Kolkata) were distributed, along with lots of biscuits, glucose, baby food and bedsheets(all sent by Capegemini group & others)On behalf of the beneficiaries and our team,We thank Capegemini group, other donors & all those behind the relief effort. You have touched a lot of lives out here !!
There are about 80-100 families here (out of 1200) who observe 'Roza' and it was difficult for them to store food and use it for breaking fast. Biscuits,dry food and milk powder provided by team has been a big help for them. Team distributed clothes sent by the donors. Its starting to look good.
I'll try to send you the list of things we need, but I have to make purchases locally as the need arises. We don't have time and transportation is very difficult, even from Trivenigunj or Supaul or Saharsa.
Team drove whole night & tried to reach the camps early morning (Its was 200 odd km of very bad drive). Team distributed relief materials & moved to next camp and tried to leave for base before sunset. It was bit tiring. So, whatever material we take is strictly according to needs of the camp.
Today I have to procure washing soap, bathing soap and milk powder. I'll get them locally tomorrow before leaving for camp.
I do understand the problems faced by accounts auditing team and their requirements, and am trying to address that issue.
Thank you guys. Thanks to all donors.
You are giving us all the help we need and all the support and things are shaping up.
Thanks & Regards,
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bihar Flood Relief : Update from Ground Zero

Email from Chandan :

Team is leaving for Trivenigunj around 9 pm.We have with us around 2000 biscuit packets, cerelac and baby food, food grains and clothes for women and children. Guneshwar is buying slates, notebook, pen/pencil/eraser, course books for (CBSE) children upto class 3.

I 'll be arranging for books for higher classes.Guneshwar has brought a water testing kit ( Jal-Tara,Delhi), 100 collection units, 3 crate essential medicines, from Gujrat. If somebody can find a baby milk powder supplier from Amul who can deliver it to trivenigunj. That would be best for us.
Team is not carrying any milk powder tonight, as we dont have any space left in our vehicle.

I'll be in touch... thanks so much guys for holding on...its the strength of the team that inspires us to go in deep down and distribute stuff to people who really need them. We are touching places about 20 km below (India) the area where the embankments gave away...its still horrible..
I guess as the water level goes down, the scale and stench of this tragedy becomes more apparent.
It has to be a sustained effort to make even a bit of difference.

Thanks & Regards,
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Situation of New Kosi Route

Kosi had broken into three tributaries near naugachia... and as today's satellite picture shows...only one stream of about 400-1000mt wide is alive and discharging straight into Ganges. It may be good because it means inflow and drainage of water through this rouge route of Kosi is getting less but it may be bad too, as more pools of stagnated water with rotting organic matter are exposes to aerobic conditions.
Disclaimer: We are not claiming any thing, Its just a prediction that has been published from flood relief operations point of view.

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