An intense July 2016 monsoon has seen Assam and Bihar hit by high-intensity flooding, and the lives of over 5 million people across 40 districts have been affected. Survivors are being evacuated by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and Indian Army, and over a million have been moved to relief camps. The largely agrarian region has seen damage to 99,416 hectares of standing crops, and civic amenities like roads, bridges, embankments, also essential services like communication and transportation have been disrupted.
Here is how you can help during one of the worst calamities the year has seen.
1. Donate money to NGOs mounting relief response
When you donate money,you will be used to rapidly procure resources, providing a constant stream of relief services and goods. This is the fastest form of relief that an ordinary person can undertake, as disaster relief is incredibly expensive. There are many long-term costs of rebuilding the damaged communities, and NGOs like Save the Children need all the assistance they can get keeping children safe from disease, the preying eyes of child exploitation, and illiteracy. You can easily donate online via net banking, thereby helping thousands of motivated volunteers, officers and employees working in an NGO.
2. Support an NGO by volunteering on the ground
While the army and NDRF are assisting in evacuation, shelter, food and medical logistics, the survival of these people requires volunteers to be working round the clock.
Grassroots volunteers are the engine of any NGO’s on-ground operations, especially in adverse situations like the ongoing floods. Volunteers can offer their skills, leadership qualities, and also do the on-ground work. In such situations, every single person can make a huge difference. Volunteers are constantly being recruited, trained, and provided opportunities to travel and work closely with people in impoverished areas. Along with the satisfaction of having made a difference, they learn several DIY (Do It Yourself) skills.
3. Donate in kind (medicines, blankets, food items, etc.)
Along with readymade food packets, food rations being distributed are intended for nutritious and warm food, including ‘chura’ (beaten rice), jaggery, rice, dal, salt and oil. Survival rations to keep survivors warm and safe include matchboxes, candle packets, kerosene oil, solar lamps, polythene sheets, groundsheets, floor mats, tarpaulin, mosquito nets and blankets. All this will keep people in the relief camps free of malnutrition, starvation, and disease. You can donate these in kind, or donate cash so that bulk orders for these can be placed. Financial support is also needed to replenish stocks of lifesaving medicines being rushed to relief camps.
4. Mobilise other people through social media
Through social media, anyone can reach millions about donation goals. The time you and your friends spend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be used to drum up support, which can translate into donations for survivors.
Here’s how you can use social media to increase awareness:
i. Share and like posts: Save the Children is actively using social media to showcase donation targets, ongoing rescue efforts, and other important updates.
ii. Invite friends: To maximise support for the rescue and relief, initiative, invite friends to Like and Share essential information like fundraising goals.
iii. Retweet: Simply hitting the ‘Retweet’ button adds a lot of mileage to something – the Twitter trends of today become the breaking news of tomorrow.
5. Support charity fundraising
Fundraising is essential to scale relief operations as more and more survivors are evacuated and placed in relief camps.
i. Door-to-door donation drives, or public venue activities in malls, shop kiosks and airports
ii. Grant proposals with action points, budgets, and measurable objectives can be pitched to philanthropists, corporates, Institutions, funding agencies, and government bodies
iv. Fundraising events, such as dinners, charity sales, etc. High net worth individuals and influencers can not only donate, but also use their star power to push for visibility.
v. Online fundraising: Crowdsourcing websites are great for small donations that add up, and emailers and other web content can supplement fundraising campaigns.
Every single act you perform to aid the survivors of the floods goes towards giving a new lease of life to the children in need. As you read this, donated resources are being assembled and shipped to relief camps by Save the Children. The NGO is recognised as a leading force in rescue and rehabilitation of communities during disasters. The NGO’s emergency response approach empowers affected families for a quick recovery to fight child mortality, and also, rebuild their lives. Employees, partners and volunteers are trained for an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPP), and also runs child-centered and community-based preparedness programmes across vulnerable communities.