Published on: September 25, 2018

(Image: Pallium India’s team at a relief camp.)

In the third week of August, Pallium India’s Advocacy Manager, Babu Abraham was deputed to Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts to assess the needs of those medically affected by the recent floods in Kerala that took a heavy toll and rendered a vast section of the population homeless and jobless that forced them to lead a life of penury at least in the foreseeable future. 

Babu writes:

Before I left for Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, I received a call from Cheshire Home in Trivandrum asking me to go over there. On arriving, I was pleasantly surprised to know that it was to receive gifts from the inmates of Cheshire Home (who constituted the aged and otherwise disabled patients) for the flood affected populace. The remarkable thing about this kind gesture was that these gifts were actually Onam gifts that they had received from their well wishers. It also included items that they had produced for sale as part of their rehabilitation process. With the unfortunate situation that they themselves were in, they could well understand the plight that their homeless and suffering brethren were going through. They got their satisfaction in giving for a noble cause at the right time, something they would not have got out of Onam this time.

I was also stumped by an old lady at the Cheshire Home, who whispered in my ear, “I have nothing else to give but my 5 months pension of ₹5,000 that remained unspent, which please accept. I would want to give more, but this is all that I have.” I was moved by such kind gestures. Who wouldn’t be? These are but a fraction of what our brave heroes amongst the fisher folk, armed forces, police, NDRF, civil society, government and the youth have done to save people from the clutches of imminent death and bring them relief.

In Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, I worked with District authorities and that of the Social Justice Dept viz. Dr.Prathibha PTA DPM, Ms.Sheeba, KAPS, AKWRF, Fr.Manoj, World In Need, Shafiq, Kuruvilla etc who guided various NGOs operating there to fan out to places such as Ranni, Pandalam, Tiruvalla, Kozenchery, Chengannur, Aranmula etc.

For the first time in my life, I saw the rich and the poor suffering together. They were all housed in camps as a mixed lot. There were only 4 toilets for 1,000 people as against a single rich household having more than 4 toilets for themselves. It was impossible to enter the toilets. But, the authorities had their limitations. This must have been the most expensive lesson in human relations. The camp held many people who were wheelchair bound. They had lost their wheelchairs, beds etc in the floods and their condition was very pathetic with some of them having developed bed sores, some that needed plastic surgery. One such person was admitted to Pushpagiri medical college for surgery to be done free of cost by their charity wing. We have been approaching donors for wheelchairs and beds and have received commitment for 10 wheel chairs. Getting the rest will take some time.

On the whole, it has been a new awakening for me and, I am sure, for all of mankind.

Comments are closed.