WHEN CYCLONE GAJA STRUCK
Two weeks ago, in the dead of night of Nov 16, Cyclone Gaja mercilessly ripped through the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. In its trail of destruction, it snatched along close to a thousand human (~100) and cattle lives (~900) and damaged over 88,000 hectares of agricultural land which rural villagers have been primarily dependent on for a livelihood. Almost 60-80% of all coconut plantations across all the villages where the cyclone had hit have been destroyed (Source: The Hindu Daily).
Today, due to this cruel twist of fate, the people who reside in 4 predominantly agrarian and coastal districts of the Delta region: Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Pudukottai - or what is known as Tamil Nadu's Rice Bowl, are haplessly starving for a bowl of rice themselves. Having rendered over 300,000 people homeless, the psychological and economic impact of Gaja Cyclone is comparable to that of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, if not worse.
Despite the magnitude of this disaster, media coverage has been minimal as most areas are remote villages which have been cut off from access to technology and have been physically blocked by fallen trees, broken bridges and debris.
Most of the affected villages are attempting to recover and rebuild. However, there still remain pockets of villagers who are struggling for even basic survival necessities such as food and access to clean water.
Here in Singapore, while many of us have the privilege of waking up to our families everyday, most Tamil foreign domestic workers who are away from their own families and working for ours in Singapore have been severely affected by this cyclone. Many of them have lost homes they have worked for years to build and their families' agricultural lands overnight.
As a means to help out these affected villages back home, a group of domestic workers in Singapore have come together to use their own networks to spearhead disaster relief efforts in heavily affected areas. They are now appealing for more support to sustain these efforts. Having engaged extensively with this group of women as volunteers for close to a year, we are reaching out on their behalf to the public to help spread word on how we can play a part in easing their burden by providing funding for basic supplies for survival.
MORE ABOUT THE GROUP
This group of domestic workers are part of a local support network for Tamil domestic workers and they kick-started a small fundraising activity to help out their badly affected villages in the Gaja cyclone. Three of them shared with us that their family members have been utilising the small amount of funds their group had raised to directly help heavily affected areas in their villages by providing cooked meals, groceries and warm blankets.
For example, one of the domestic workers - Gandhi - is from Muthalipatti village, Tanjavur District, Tamil Nadu. She is has been working in Singapore for the past 15 years as a domestic worker. Mudalipatti has been severely affected and continues to require assistance in providing food, clothes and basic essentials. Since the day the cyclone hit, Gandhi’s sister, Dhanalakshmi, has been helping out in Vattalampatti, one of the most impoverished areas within her village. Vattalampatti has yet to receive any support from official channels and has been relying on funds sent through Gandhi’s family. Dhanalakshmi has been cooking meals to feed 125 families and has been taking charge of sourcing and delivering essentials to them. There is little electricity or telecommunication channels for them to seek help easily. Thus, your support will go a long way in helping them tide over this crisis.
OUR CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVE
This project aims to facilitate the provision of immediate short-term supplies necessary for survival to the villagers in most need while long-term rehabilitation efforts are underway by respective authorities. The fund will be split equally between the 3 domestic workers to provide food and other survival supplies to the most heavily hit areas in and around their villages.
WHERE DO THE FUNDS GO?
FOR MORE INFO
To understand more about the intensity of the aftermath of this crisis, feel free to read this article by The Hindu Daily - https://www.thehindu.com/…/destruction-…/article25...
LET'S DO OUR PART!
Together, let's make a positive difference by contributing what we can to help these villagers obtain the means and strength necessary to survive this ordeal and get their lives back on track. Thank you for your generosity.