Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Kodagu, The Lost Land!

Disaster stuck Kerala and Kodagu at once, Nature Fury brought down the best know holiday spots, most popular tourist locations, land of coffee, tea and spices to ground zero like never before. The disaster that has stuck is beyond anyone’s imagination, floods, excessive rains, landslides and hills came down carrying along the villages, wounded and scared both Kerala and Kodagu forever.

As people of Kerala and Kodagu battled the Nature Fury, help from across the nation and world started pouring, a group us from B.PAC-BCLIP decided to reach Kodagu and help people by working on ground and not just send relief material. As we travelled to Madikeri, trucks carrying relief materials, broken roads, landslides, non-stop rains, ruined landscape was visible everywhere.

DC Office had mobilized officers from across the state, rescue operations across the villages that were completely disconnected, and where people were stranded was top priority, hundreds of families had walked 3-4 days fighting all odds to reach relief centers literally broken and empty handed. Relief camps were set up at different places, there were stories of bravery, resilience and trauma cutting across all sections of the society. Madrassa, Church, Temple, Schools, Govt Buildings, Community Centers all turned into relief camps for inflowing people from across Kodagu.

Meeting people at the relief camps, talking to the people who were running it and the Govt staff who were working non-stop to send supplies both to relief camps and to the villages where people were at their home without food for days left us emotional.

Various Municipalities and Corporations had sent staff to clean the flooded areas, cities and towns. Kodagu needed everything from toilets to geysers to massive cleaning equipment and most importantly resources to work on ground. 

We as a team after visiting various relief camps decided to work at the stock point at the DC Office where all the relief materials sent by people and Govt was reaching and took upon ourselves to sort every item that was coming in by checking each and every box that was unloaded. The sorted material was then packed as per requirement and sent to various panchayats and relief camps for further disbursement via nodal officers. It was heartbreaking to see how calls were pouring in asking for ration and other material and reaching all the requirements with not much of road connectivity was getting tougher.

With over 50% of the 4000kms of panchayat roads (other than PWD roads) that connect villages destroyed the challenges of relief was only multiplying. With Rescue operations winding up, Relief had taken over and there was not much time to think about Rehabilitation and Rebuilding. With homes, livelihood, infrastructure gutted, how can Kodagu get back on its feet was a question on everyone’s mind. Many questions many issues but it’s a long long way to recovery, no doubt people of Kodagu will rebuild but it’s a task that needs a huge participation from Government and people across the State.

As an when Kodagu limps back to normalcy building homes before the brutal winters hits Kodagu, and there is no guarantee that there will be no more rains either. It is a task that Government has to take up on a war footing basis, and extend every possible support for people of Kodagu without any administrative delays.

We left Kodagu after 4 days with a heavy heart but sooner or later many of us have to go back to do our bit to stand with Kodagu.