Join Hands to Help the People of Kashmir

Dear Readers,

If you’ve been watching the news at all over the last few weeks, you know that the floods in Kashmir have been one of the most devastating natural disasters to hit the country in the last few decades. Other than the loss of life and property when the floodwaters hit, the men, women and children of J&K are fighting to survive past the secondary effects. Injuries (both internal and external), pneumonia and other illnesses caused by extended immersion in cold water, as well as water-borne diseases that thrive in contaminated water are the new evils that create a grim scenario for the days to come.

Many have noted that when calamities occur, private citizens are as involved in rescue and aid efforts as the officials are. In Kashmir, the Indian army and other military sections have been at the forefront of search-and-rescue, medical aid and reaching supplies to flood-hit areas, and we salute their efforts. These brave and generous souls are also being assisted by private organizations, large companies, NGOs and teams of volunteers. The way the nation has come together to help out the people of the state reminds us of the fact that we’re all one people – united in our diversity!

The desire to help is a great beginning, but it needs to be well-organized so that supplies and aid get transported and distributed properly. Today, I’d like to talk about Goonj – an organization that is filling this requirement and helping to organize the relief efforts on a private level.

How is Goonj Helping the J&K Relief Efforts?

Here’s a first-hand account of their contribution – “A team of volunteers came to Delhi from other cities, including medical professionals and a very close friend. They left for Srinagar with medical aid, blankets and other relief material but realized when they reached there that they had no clue how to get it across to people who need it!”

While they were trying to decide on a course of action, they met a team from Goonj, who efficiently guided them to different camps that required these items, helped them organize the transportation and took time out to explain what would be needed in the days to come. They said that people from all over the country were sending basic essentials, with truckloads of blankets, clothing and food arriving from their centers.

They also explained that the most essential requirement was for drinking water, as people drinking contaminated water (with dirt, flood runoff, human waste and decomposing bodies) were going to start falling sick and there might be greater destruction caused in the weeks to come. Dried foodstuff, medical and sanitary supplies, warm clothes and other materials are also used up as fast as they arrive. Goonj is working hard to spread awareness, too, and needs all the help it can get!

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How Can You Help?

We’d like to make an appeal to anyone reading this post. Share, tweet and spread awareness of the issue, and donate whatever you can to the cause. What you spend on one meal at a fancy restaurant can buy a month’s worth of medicine for an affected village, one cup of that cappuccino you love so much can be sacrificed to save a child’s life with basic first aid, food and water.

Goonj has set up collection centers in every city, so you can donate material or money for the cause. You can also make online donations that will be used to purchase clothing, drinking water, non-perishable food items, medicines and other essentials. Goonj volunteers and associated organizations will arrange for these collections to be transported and distributed in affected areas.

If you would like to help with the rescue efforts in Jammu and Kashmir, here’s a list of items that are needed:

Non-Perishables – Tents, Tarpaulin / Plastic Sheets, Utensils, Blankets, Medicines, Solar/Emergency Lights (Hand-Cranked or Battery-Operated) and Batteries, Buckets, Umbrellas, Crutches, Sanitary Napkins, Bandages, Mats, Mattresses, Water Purification Tablets, Ropes (no old/used clothing please)

Non Prescription Medicines – Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), Zinc Sulphate, Paracetamol, lbuprofen, First Aid Kit, Betadine, Hydrogen peroxide, Vitamin C, Iron Sulfate (FeSo4), Zinc, Multivitamins

Prescription Medicines – Amoxicilin, Doxycline, Ciprofloxacin, Norflox TZ, Anti-Tetanus lg, Permethrin Cream 5%, Lindane Lotion 1%, Salbutamol, Nebules and Nebulizers

Cash/Online Donations – To cover the costs of Transportation, Logistics and Purchase of Relief Material

Refer to http://www.goonj.org for more details and updated lists of required materials. You can also write to mail@goonj.org or call 011-41401216, 011-26972351 in case of any queries, or to organize collection drives in areas where there is no center.

Other websites and groups are also pitching in with their efforts, so check out about NGOs and humanitarian organizations in your local area. I’ve joined a group on Facebook that is working to provide LifeStraws for clean drinking water, which is one of the biggest concerns in flood-affected areas. Please help out the people of the state in any way you can!

Please Note: This post has been published with the intent to raise awareness and help flood victims, in good faith and without any commercial motive. I’ve done my best to list accurate information, but you may need contact organizations directly or check their websites for updated details.

Resources and Links

goonj.org

jkfloodrelief.org

giveindia.org

udayfoundationindia.org

pragya.org

LifeStraws for J&K

It Lives!

*clears throat*

Dr. Frankenstein Voice: At last, it is aliiiiiive!

While I have been writing professionally for almost a decade, there is only a tiny dead blog that ever received attention on a personal level. Between tattooing, work and varied other demands on my time (as well as a few excuses), I neglected my muse till she was banging on the doors of my head at 10 a.m. after I had been working for 24 hours straight and just trying to get some sleep… 😦

This is an attempt to shut her up, though I keep ‘planning’ a blog and my laptop is littered with random musings in a variety of untitled.txt files. I will attempt to make some sense of them over the next few weeks and keep that noisy muse-lady at bay. 😀

She also made me write a short sci-fi/fantasy story earlier to(night?)day, which I am not sure I will ever have the guts to share. Still, you never know.

Ah, sleep beckons at last. There is so much I want to share and I hope I can give this project as much attention as I feel it deserves. We’ll just have to wait and see now, won’t we? 🙂

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