|Place||Registered offices of Sampurna Nari Sangathan (SNKS), Nari Mukti Sangathan (NMS), Adarsha Nari Sangathan (ANS), Jagriti Nari Sangathan (JNS) & Pratusha Nari Sangathan (PNS)|
|Blocks||Bishnupur, Kalna II, Jamalpur, Kalna I and Pandua|
|District||South 24 Pgs., Burdwan & Hooghly|
|Total Participants||1600 Beneficiaries|
In the aftermath of the Amphan Super cyclone an initiative was taken up by Udayani and its daughter organisations at Bishnupur, Jamalpur, Kalna I Kalna II and Pandua Blocks in South 24 Parganas, Burdwan and Hooghly districts of West Bengal to provide relief to the people who were most affected by this disaster.
At a time when people all over the world were dealing with the COVID 19 Pandemic, the people of West Bengal in India were struck by another natural disaster where they had to face the Super Cyclone Amphan which ripped through the state with its vicious wind at a speed of 155 – 165 km/h. The cyclone caused massive destruction and according to the data provided by the government of West Bengal a total of 5 lakh families lost their homes across the 9 districts of West Bengal, South 24 Parganas being the worst affected district among them. At least 72 people have died in West Bengal.
The people belonging to the marginalized sections of the society had to pay the highest tolls. They were the ones who had homes made of thatched roofs and mud or tin and asbestos sheets therefore, when the storm hit the state at a speed of 155-165 km per hour, it was the roof tops of these houses which got blown away or got destroyed by heavy branch from the tree which crashed into them. As stated, earlier lakhs of families have lost their homes and hundreds have lost their lives.
In the aftermath of the destructive cyclone, the government of West Bengal took active steps to provide relief to people. The Chief Minister of the state seeing the devastative impact of the cyclone announced that a sum of Rs. 20,000/- would be transferred into the bank accounts of those families who have lost their houses as a result of the cyclone. Additionally, the people affected by Amphan will also be entitled to the scheme of subsidised ration which was a relief response to the COVID pandemic according to which food grains were being provided free of cost to people in the state of West Bengal.
It is being seen that even after the best intensions of the government, the relief has not yet delivered to all the people who are in need of it. Even after 25 days after the cyclone the panchayat or the local administration of the affected areas are still surveying the villages to identify the people who are in need of relief. A handful of people have received the promised amount in their bank accounts but the rest have been provided temporary relief where they have been offered tarpaulins for a make shift shelter.
Therefore, taking into consideration the above-mentioned problems the Executive Members of Sampurna Nari Kalyan Sangathan in Bishnupur, Adarsha Nari Sangathan in Jamalpur, Jagriti Nari Sangathan in Kalna I, Nari Mukti Sangathan in Kalna II and Pratusha Nari Sangathan in Pandua in collaboration with Udayani Social Action Forum decided to start relief work in through their respective regional NGOs.
The Executive Committee members surveyed their respective villages and communities and enlisted the name of beneficiaries who had been affected by Amphan. The second step involved the preparation of the budget for the relief response work. In the third step the required grocery was purchased from the local grocery stores and was transported to the regional NGOs. As an initiative towards environmental protection some of the NGOs refused to use plastic bags and they asked the beneficiaries to get their own reusable bags for carrying the grocery kit. Therefore, the fourth step was the distribution of the grocery kit.
As per the Amphan Relief Response Program, each family was provided a dry ration kit. The dry ration kits distributed by Sampurna Nari Kalyan Sangathan in Bishnupur consisted of 5kgs rice, 2kgs wheat flour, 2kg pulses and 1ltr Cooking oil. The dry ration kits distributed in Jamalpur, Kalna I, Kalna II and Pandua consisted of 5kgs rice, 2kgs wheat flour, 2kg pulses and 1ltr Mustard oil. Further, the regional details of Amphan Relief Response Program are enlisted below:
* Sampurna Nari Kalyan Sangathan (SNKS), Bishnupur, South 24 Pgs.
In Bishnupur, Amphan Relief Response Program was conducted thrice. The first program was conducted on 6th June 2020, in the presence of Fr. John Kerketta, the Director of Udayani Social Action Forum. On this day dry ration kits were distributed among 200 families. On 10th June dry ration was distributed among 100 families. On 14th June 2020, dry ration was distributed in the presence of Fr. John Kerketta, the Director of Udayani Social Action Forum and Fr. Anburaj Manuel, the Assistant Director of Udayani Social Action Forum. Rinku Patra, a staff member of Udayani Social Action Forum was also present during the distribution program. On this day dry ration was distributed to a total of 200 families. Therefore, summing up the two programs Amphan Relief Response was provided to a total of 500 families of Bishnupur block. In both the programs the distribution centre was at the head office of Sampurna Nari Kalyan Sangathan in Nepalgunge. The distribution was conducted on a single day but an entire week was spent in making the arrangements of the program therefore, during this dual crises period raised due to the increase in the COVID 19 infection and the Amphan Cyclone the Executive Committee Members of SNKS risked their lives to work towards the welfare of the Marginalized sections of the society.
* Adarsha Nari Sangathan (ANS), Jamalpur, Burdwan
In Jamalpur, Amphan Relief Response Program was conducted on 3 different days. On 13th June, the 1st episode of the Relief Program was conducted at ANS head office at Nabagram in the presence of Fr. Anburaj Manuel, the Assistant Director of Udayani Social Action Forum. On the 1st day dry ration kits were distributed among the 92 families in Nabagram village. On 14th June 2020, dry ration kits were distributed among 28 families of Shalmula village. On 15th June dry ration kits were distributed among 20 families in Sanchra village, 30 in Mohanpur village and 30 in Mirepara village. The food grains which were transported to the regional NGO head office those were distributed among the Executive members. These members took the responsibility of distributing food grains among the beneficiaries in their own villages. They used motor vans as the means of transport to carry dry ration to their respective areas. The Executive Committee members of ANS decided that they would try to take an initiative to preserve the environment by not packing the dry ration in a single use plastic instead they weighed 5kgs rice on the spot and transferred it to the bags bought by the beneficiaries. In doing so special precaution was taken to maintain social distance and before weighing each new bulk the person responsible for doing so was disinfecting her hands using sanitizers. On summing up the total number of dry ration kits provided it was seen that a 200 families in the Jamalpur block were provided relief response.
* Jagriti Nari Sangathan (JNS), Kalna I, Burdwan
Similar to Jamalpur block, in Kalna I, Amphan Relief Response Program was conducted on 3 different days. The 1st episode was conducted on 6th June 2020, at Mirjabati village of Kalna I block in the presence of Fr. Anburaj Manuel, the Assistant Director of Udayani Social Action Forum and the Panchayat Pradhan of Krishnadevpur Gram Panchayat. On this say relief was provided to 70 families in Mirjabati and 37 families in Khanpur. On the second day i.e. on 7th June 2020, relief was provided to 30 families in Mirjabati and 48 families in Khanpur. On the last day i.e. on 8th June 2020, relief was provided to 15 families in Khanpur. A sum total of the relief responses program shows that dry ration kits were provided to 200 families in Kalna I block.
* Nari Mukti Chetna Sangathan (NMS) Kalna II, Burdwan
In Kalna II, Amphan Relief Response Program relief response program was conducted twice. On 4th June on dry ration kits were distributed among the families in Ekchaka, Beguniya, Malikelenoi, Hijuli, Upar Bansai, Nichu Bansai, Jhero Jamirtola, Khangrakur, Sarvamangala, Kashipu and Suiye vilages. On this day dry ration kits were distributed among 200 families 12th June 2020. Dry ration kits were distributed among the families in Ekchaka, Beguniya, Malikelenoi, Hijuli, Upar Bansai, Nichu Bansai, Jhero Jamirtola, and Hatgacha villages. The distribution centre was at NMS head office. Fr. Anburaj Manuel, the Assistant Director of Udayani Social Action Forum was present during the distribution. Dry ration Kits were distributed among 150 families of Kalna II block. Similar to Jamalpur block the Executive Committee members of NMS boycotted the use of single use plastic instead they asked the beneficiaries to carry their own bags. The person responsible for weighing the dry ration took precautionary measures and sanitized her hand after handing the grains to every person. In the two relief response programs dry ration was distributed among 350 families.
* Pratusha Nari Sangathan (PNS), Pandua, Hooghly
In Pandua, Amphan Relief Response Program was conducted in 3 different days. On 6th June dry ration kits were distributed in Kanur and Deypara villages. On 7th June dry ration was distributed in Jaganathpur, Boragori and Kasondipara villages. On 8th June June dry ration was distributed in Batna and on 14th June dry ration was distributed in Belgachhi village. A sum total of the relief responses program shows that dry ration kits were provided to 350 families in Pandua block.
Prior to these dry ration distribution programs, the Executive committee members of SNKS, ANS, JNS, NMS and PNS worked hard to chalk out the entire distribution program. They themselves unloaded the ration supplies in their respective NGOs by carrying heavy sacks of food grains on their head. During the distribution process the strictly followed the rules of social distancing. The carved-out circles using paint at an interval of 1 metre and asked the beneficiaries to maintain the required distance among each other. In addition to that they provided sanitizer to each beneficiary before and after handing them the dry ration. The Executive committee members of each of the regional NGOs risked their life to work for the welfare of their community.
In order to survey the mental and financial condition of the beneficiaries, some of the beneficiaries were interviewed during the program based on their response the feedbacks that we received are as follows:
The SHG women were really happy to receive the help they said that the dual Corona and Amphan crisis has not only disabled them economically but also mentally. Due to lack of the source of income they are unable to sustain their family which in turn is increasing their stress levels. Although the government is making promises to provide relief to people but rarely does it trickle down to the grass root level. Therefore, the relief that they have received will sustain their families even if they do not get wok for a week or two. They were thankful for the help that they have received.