Cyclone Gaja Relief Response | Milaap
Cyclone Gaja Relief Response
  • Bless

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    Bless NGO
  • B

    This fundraiser will benefit


    from Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu


Cyclone Gaja (गज- Sanskrit word for elephant)

To a culture that reveres the Elephant God Ganesha as the remover of obstacles, Cyclone Gaja came down like an elephant on a rampage. Raging through Nagapattinam down to Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu on India's southeastern coast at a speed of 120 km an hour crippling  202 village communities in an instant. A mere 4 hours of howling winds on the night of November 16th, was all it took to uproot concrete electrical poles, flood carefully cultivated fields and reduce stately palm trees to lifeless stumps.

A staggering 120,000 homes in agrarian and fishing villages were damaged, 250,000 people affected and 60 lives were lost.

BLESS is a non-profit, non-religious and volunteer-based organization. BLESS works for the social, economic and cultural upliftment of marginalized villages and communities.

BLESS assessment teams have been mobilized across the city and to nearby towns. The need here is great as we have seen an abnormal rise of sea levels has inundated the low lying areas of coastal regions drowning human beings and livestock, eroding beaches and embankments, flooding neighborhoods and towns, destroying vegetation and reducing soil fertility. Communities livelihoods vanished overnight. More than 1 million forest and fruit-bearing trees across the coastline, a vital source of income for agricultural laborers and small farmers were decimated. A sea of paddy and other cash crops, submerged. A government survey of the areas categorically states that 90% of agricultural and horticultural crops were completely gutted leaving no income source from farmlands. 

BLESS has made a rapid assessment in 30 of the most affected villages in Kilvalur and Vedaranyam Taluks of Nagapattinam District. The people are experiencing hardship beyond words. These villages are unable to run community kitchens due to lack of food materials; small children are without baby food, girls and women without sanitary napkins and in general 70% of the people live in homes without a roof. The villages are mostly inaccessible as the fallen trees are yet to be removed and the communities have no means to remove them. It will take about a month or two to get back electricity as all the electric poles were uprooted. The adults have no employment and the local markets have completely collapsed.

BLESS is mobilizing a group of professionals and volunteers to provide emergency relief to 1,800 people.  Cleaning, repairing, and rebuilding will be our main goal. Work will include cleaning up debris from the storm, cutting down trees, cleaning and rebuilding destroyed houses, cleaning and pumping polluted water sources. BLESS needs to funds to buy materials (tarpaulin, mosquito nets, hammers, poles, ropes, nails, solar lights), hire professionals (ie woodcutters, machine operators), rent heavy machinery, trucks, and bulldozers, as well as feeding and transport costs for all those helping in the relief efforts.

The needs in the cyclone-affected areas are immense. 80% of the people surveyed in the affected areas definitely state that the aid received is insufficient.  In some cases, no aide has even reached villages the at all. Government aid and supplies have been trickling in but remote and interior settlements remain untouched.

We are asking for your help in funding our relief efforts. Every little donation will help us make a difference for those who have lost everything. Click the donate button and help those who need it the most this holiday season. 

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