CHENNAI: After cyclone Vardah raged through the city on December 12, 2016, volunteers of Rapid Response, an NGO, were among the first to swing into action. A day later, they were out on the streets distributing food packets and relief kits. Almost a month later, they have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to restore the livelihood of about 150 fishermen in Pulicat.
"On December 13 and 14, we distributed food in Thiruvottiyur and Pulicat," said Mohamad Farukh, CEO, adding that they later began distributing relief kits. The NGO is a disaster relief agency which helps people rebuild lives through food, medical, shelter, education and livelihood programmes.
"We respond to any national disaster and have done relief work during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013, flood-affected communities in Jammu and Kashmir, and also the Chennai floods of 2015," said Farukh.
The NGO has a standard relief kit it distributes during emergencies. "It contains rice, wheat, dal, salt, sugar, cooking oil, and a flashlight and the provisions are enough to sustain a family of five for a week," Farukh added.
Farukh initially launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform www.fueladream.com on December 14 to raise money for food packets. But since the needs on the ground have changed, the campaign has been modified.
"The fishing communities in Pulicat lost their fishing boats and nets. Since the paddy fields were also destroyed, the farmers were also affected," said Farukh, whose NGO has been working with the Pulicat (Pazhaverkadu) fishing community since 2014 on community managed disaster risk reduction programmes.