Oft Hope is born when all is forlorn – J.R.R. Tolkien
After facing the worst floods of the century, Kerala has started rebuilding, with its relief and rehabilitation work helping the most severely affected. Over 5 lakh people are facing the task of repairing their flood hit homes, removing the muck and the reptiles that have crept in and taken shelter while they lay deserted. The fear of water-borne infections loom large over the state. The estimated death toll is nearly 400 people while nearly 10 lakh people have been displaced and stranded, as per the latest figures. The destruction caused by the floods is massive and the relief and rehabilitation work required would be one of the major development challenges ever faced by the state in the last 100 years. Kerala has 12% elder population and in times of disaster, older people are the most affected, as they are unable to save themselves in times of crises or access the relief material due to mobility issues, consequently many of them succumb to the disaster.
As in any disaster, there are 3 stages, the affected community goes through, namely RESCUE, RELIEF and REHABILITATION. The rescue operation is over now, that the water has receded and people are returning home to clean and repair their homes to make them livable once again. A total of 6479 treatments have been carried out through 94 Camps by 6 Medical Healthcare Units of HelpAge India. Mobile Healthcare Unit of Nadavayal has received Mobile Medical Relief Kit from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). The Kit consists of HP Tab, Haemoglobin Analyser with strips, Glucometer with strips, BP Cuff, Tele-Health solution, Tele-Health Spirometer & Biometric Enrol.
HelpAge India is working on the ground since 11th August, 2018 and since then, has carried out the much needed medical and other relief aid in the 4 most affected districts, Wayanad, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta and Idukki. HelpAge disaster team is currently focusing on providing Emergency Medical Relief and Relief Kits which include essential items like dry food rations, drinking water, non-food items and basic clothing for those who have lost all in the floods. HelpAge has distributed relief kits to about 2000 families in the Wayanad and Idukki districts of Kerala.
The final and crucial stage is of rehabilitation which is a long drawn process involving preventive and curative health support, restoring homes and assets like drinking water, wells, household and electrical items, etc. The biggest challenge is for those who have lost everything in the floods including their lifelong savings and entire property. Besides financial loss, the mental trauma, physical exertion and shock is a lot for the people to come to terms with. The initial rehabilitation will include formation of Medical Rehabilitation Centres (MRCs) towards bringing the health system back to normal.
Our Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mathew Cherian was in Kerala to review the relief operations in the state and plan forward for the effective implementation of disaster management protocols in the rehabilitation phase along with our State Head and the State Team that has been working continuously since the beginning.
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Updates from the Field
- 6479 treatments through 94 Emergency Medical Camps by 6 Medical Units in 4 districts of Kerala State.
- 2790 families provided 33 items Flood Relief Kits ( two weeks ) in two districts of Kerala State.
- 14 Local Self Governments (LSGs) involved
- Area Coverage of 1228 Sq./ km in two districts; far away from base station at Kochi
- 39 distribution locations in two districts.