A severe cyclonic storm, Gaja, battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 46 people dead and causing widespread destruction. Authorities said the cyclone crossed the coast between Nagapattinam, Vedaranyam and Thanjavur districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. with wind speeds of about 110-120 kmph.
My maternal ancestral roots are from Panchanathikulam, a village near Vedaranyam., which is one among the worst hit places by Cyclone Gaja.
When I reminisce my childhood summer holidays there with lush fertile land, mango orchards, vast cashew farms and acres of coconut farms, it is disheartening to see the uprooted tress and rotten paddy.
There are so many people in this slightly remote village where they haven’t even got candles. There is no electricity for the past 5 days and it will take some more days for the power supply to resume.
There are 120+ more families for whom we want to help directly with Tarpaulin sheets and cattle fodder in addition to the above mentioned items. A big thanks to everyone who contributed ! We are going there again.
On accessing the villages closely, we found that people are getting temporary relief materials but nothing which would help them in the long run. Farmers have lost the trees, on which they had been relying on for income. It would take at-least 6 years for them to get benefitted out of yields from new saplings.
- Donating Cattle - Rs 3500/baby goat & Rs 17000/calf of native breed. This will slightly balance the lost income from trees.
- New native saplings for afforestation - Helps restoring the greenery. approximately Rs 50-100. depends on the variety.
- Rehabilitation training on sustainable organic farming - approximately Rs 3000/farmer. To prevent affected farmer to select hybrid/GMO saplings and chemical fertilizers so that they would give faster yields. In talks with Dr.Nammazhvar's Vanagam Foundation for the same.
Note: We are not taking up reconstructing or repairing damaged houses as people have either figured out ways to re-thatch the roofs or waiting for government aid for the same, while temporarily covering with tarpaulin sheets.
THE MORE FUND RAISED,MORE THE PEOPLE WILL BE BENEFITED
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE.
Sowntherya Karthikeyan is the person who will be going in person for distributing the upcoming supply packages directly to the needy.