It is hard to turn a blind eye to communities where we work when natural disasters strike. In the past few years, we have expanded our areas of intervention to include disaster relief as a thematic area. Due to our sustained presence in different parts of the country resulting from our work on tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy, we have had communities turning to us for help during natural disasters. After a careful need assessment and a check on our available resources we decided to expand our focus to bring relief work to disaster affected communities. Through our efforts at times of natural disasters, we have been able to bring relief to 3400 beneficiaries across 4 states of India in the past 3 years.
One of the most notable disaster relief work implemented by us, was in the state of Assam, post the floods in 2017 under Project SRAJAN. Srajan, a Hindi word which translates to recreation after destruction, aimed at rehabilitation post the devastating floods in the state of Assam. Monsoons bring flood almost every year in Assam when the River Brahmaputra and its tributaries swell up to cause mass destruction. In 2017, a similar situation arose when the districts in the upper reaches of the river were inundated with flood water. But what was worse than the flood water itself was the destruction left behind after the water receded. Farm land submerged with silt and sand, chocked tube wells, sanitation facilities overflowing with dirt and faecal matter made life after flood a living nightmare. After a careful assessment of the situation, GLRA identified problem areas that needed intervention. Most important of all these was to get livelihood sources back in operation as a lack of them pushed the men towards nearby cities in search of work. However, unhygienic surroundings and uninhabitable conditions post-flood could lead to outbreak of diseases which could completely change the direction of rehabilitation work. Thus, the need was felt to create basic amenities like provision for clean drinking water, and sanitation facilities and the same were first erected. Toilets on a raised platform to prevent overflowing, new bore wells to provide safe drinking water, and mosquito nets were provided to the community. Once these were secured, further rehabilitation work was carried out to bring the community back on its feet.
On similar lines, GLRA-India has ensured its participation in disaster relief work across the country wherever there has been a need. Kerala floods were the most recent calamity where GLRA extended a helping hand by providing humanitarian aid in the form of clothes, water cans, food packets, and sanitation material. Special care was taken of the families with TB patients.
You too can be a part of this humanitarian cause by volunteering or by donating (hyperlink to donate page) online.