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Cyclone Amphan in India – Stand with us

“Sujala Sufala Malayaja Shitala Shashya Shyamala Mataram” . The song “Bande Mataram” written by Bankim Chandra Chattapadhyay went on to become the rallying cry for India’s freedom struggle and is the national song of India. Though it’s meant for the whole country, if you understand the words, the picture it paints in your mind is of the beautiful riverine landscape of the green, fertile plains – the ones you find in the plains of  Bengal. The dense magroves, the islands, the green fertile lands that were devastated on 20th May 2020 by cyclone Amphan. It’s the worst cyclone that hit the East coast of India in decades, and the worst in Bengal in the last 238 years! The cyclone tore through the coastal Orissa southern districts of West Bengal including Kolkata and the neighboring country Bangladesh uprooting trees and electric poles, blowing off roofs, breaking many vehicles and ravaging homes in the rural areas. At a time when the whole country was struggling with the global pandemic, this is a cruel blow of nature. 

As you would have understood by now, this is not a travel story. This is ugly, this is violent, but this is real. The world’s largest mangrove forest in Sundarban has been ravaged, the world’s largest second-hand book-mart is destroyed, but most importantly my heart goes out to the people who have lost so much in this calamity. The painful loss of lives, homes and livelihood in the part of country I call home disturbs me to the core. I feel like going there to at least stand with my parents who are locked up in their homes without electricity for more than 30 hours now. This is the state of most of Kolkata, one of the largest metropolitan cities of India. I can’t bring myself to imagine what people in rural areas are going through. If you are reading this, I urge you to pray for the speedy recovery of my “shashya shyamala” (fertile green) motherland and donate wholeheartedly towards the cause. Here is a list of NGOs who have started raising funds for relief operations. (Some of these are from Source)

Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are worldwide, non-political, non-sectarian spiritual organizations which have been engaged in various forms of humanitarian, social service activities for more than a century. Founded by Swami Vivekananda, the community of monks serve millions of men, women and children, without any distinction of caste, religion or race. 

Bharat Shevashram is a philanthropic organisation which was formed in 1917 in Bangladesh. Their large network of volunteers provide prompt response to epidemics and emergencies all over the world. They have already established several relief camps for people displaced by the the cyclone.

Asha for Education is a fully volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit with 50+ chapters around the world whose mission is to catalyze socio-economic change in India through the education of underprivileged children. They are raising funds for relief work in the rural areas of West Bengal and Orissa that have been affected by the cyclone.

Mukti Web is providing COVID aid to villages in Sundarban. They are providing them with sanitizers, food, sanitary pads etc.

Rural Health Care Foundation (RHCF) is a non profit organisation based out of Kolkata. It offers primary healthcare to the underprivileged community through a chain of 15 primary health centres located in remote rural regions of West Bengal and the urban slums of Kolkata.

Sabuj Sangha is committed to improving the lives of people who are less fortunate in West Bengal, India, through participation and empowerment. Community engagement is an essential aspect of all their health and nutrition activities.

Social distancing, for people who survive on daily wages, means starvation. Millions in Bangladesh have lost their livelihood. BRAC is supporting 200,000 families for $18 a week to feed a family of 4.

Paripurnata runs a half-way-home for patients who suffer from mental illness. This home provides the patients with a safe shelter and rehabilitation and helps in their re-entry into their families.

Fundraising platform for local Indian charity organizations. This fundraiser is organized by IIM K alumnus who have personally interacted with three grassroot level NGOs who are working on rebuilding the affected villages in West Bengal after cyclone.

If you know of any other organization that is working towards these efforts please feel free to comment below or add it to the google docs link if you can. Thanks for reading. 

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