CHENNAI: A man hiding inside a manhole for shelter was just one of the appalling sights the relief volunteers had to witness on Wednesday night. The person had no place to go, and he found no other way to escape the torrential downpour, says Ram Kumar, a member of Nivar Meetpu Kuzhu, a team of over 100 NGOs across the State.
The team attended to over 10,000 emergency requests in a span of 48 hours.
“The team had first come together during Gaja cyclone. When the government issued warning for Nivar, we again connected through social media and hit the field. Since there are over 100 NGOs involved, we were able to work on numerous kinds of relief operations,” says Hari Krishnan, a member of the team. They worked on mobilising senior citizens, providing food, rehabilitating homeless people and also drove around an ambulance for two days to attend to emergencies.
When the rains began on the first day, we never thought it would get this intense, says Banu Priya, another volunteer. “First,we helped people in the low-lying areas and provided blankets to destitutes. On the second day, we began receiving a lot of requests for food packets,” she adds.
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The team supplied food to various flooded areas, including Villivakkam, Kolathur, Tambaram, Mudichur, Velachery, Taramani, Red Hills, Madhavaram, Thiruvottiyur and Saidapet. Around 200 members worked the entire Wednesday night supplying food and attending to other emergencies.
Nivar Meetpu Kuzhu also tied up with the city corporation’s relief centres and rehabilitated over 500 homeless people. With the cyclone passing, all people in relief camps were sent back home. “The tarpaulin and thatched roofs of many houses were damaged. Now, most of the requests we get are for helping with house repairs,” another team member says. So far, the team has helped with the repairs of over 100 houses.