‘Cyclone Nivar to Burevi – Providing Relief to Needy in Chennai’
I wanted to supplement the government’s efforts by supplying food and tea to people in relief centres.
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
I am Srini Swaminathan, a 41-year-old Social Development Consultant in Chennai. Cyclone Nivar – a tropical cyclone that hit the coast of Tamil Nadu on 25 November – had a severe impact on low-lying areas and consequently, people’s homes along the coastline. Not only was there a loss of homes due to flooding in the streets, several homeless people in Chennai had nowhere to go.
While the Tamil Nadu government and Greater Chennai Cooperation had put in a lot of efforts to make sure people in relief centres were taken care of, I wanted to supplement and support their efforts by raising funds for relief and to supply food and tea to people in these centres as well as on the streets.
I used my Instagram and Twitter profiles to talk about the relief work underway on ground and the need for donations to help victims. This helped connect donors directly to food vendors in Chennai who were then able to supply chappati packets, rice and bread to relief centres.
Fortunately, I was able to raise Rs 1,09,451 for Cyclone Nivar food relief. This was directly sent to food vendors’ bank accounts as financial transparency is important for me.
With the help of food vendors like Usha Rajagopal from the VMS Food and Beverages, Pradeep from Ramdev Hot Chapatis, and tea-seller Suresh Malaisamy, we were able to supply food and tea to nearly 2,500 people and also provide other basic supplies.
Unfortunately, as we were recovering from the impact of Cyclone Nivar, another cyclone – Burevi – is approaching Tamil Nadu’s coast.
Though it is not going to be crossing Chennai, it is expected to bring heavy rains to the city and hence, I have earmarked some remaining funds from Cyclone Nivar relief work to ensure those in need are taken care of.
“We supplied over 5,000 bread and 6,500 bun packets in a short span of three days. We still have funds left which can be kept as reserve for the upcoming cyclone.”Usha Rajagopal, Director, VMS Food and Beverages
I had moved to Chennai when I was 7 years old and my family had struggled to make ends meet then. Inspired by my mother’s wise thinking about providing support to several people coming to Chennai for better economic opportunities, I have been engaged in relief work ever since the national lockdown in March when thousands of migrant workers journeyed back home by foot.
We had distributed more than 1,45,000 food packets to Shramik passengers ie migrants.
It has been a week since Nivar passed, but there are many still residing in relief camps , waiting for city officials to allot alternate housing. I hope our efforts can help in rebuilding these lives.
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