Friday, March 24

Kolkata: Essentials, cash to pull Sunderbans back on feet

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A fortnight into the destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan, good Samaritans in the city reached out to some of most-ravaged villages in the districts closest to the point of landfall, offering help to islanders with essentials, medicines as well as cash to assist them bounce back to life.

Ekta Kothari Jaju, a social entrepreneur, documentary filmmaker and environmentalist, was among the first few to walk into Dubachhati village in Patharpratima — a little away from where the cyclone made its landfall— with food supplies, medicines, sanitary napkins, tarpaulin sheets, puffed rice and other essentials. She was carrying the relief items donated by a host of NGOs under the campaign #rebuildbengal.

“Huts were flattened out, ponds full of dead fish, fields were full of sea water, electric poles were broken, and crops were lost. While the village was devastated, the spirit of the land was invincible. All the fallen trees were neatly cut and kept for construction or sale, small twigs tied in bundles to be used as firewood. People were pumping out salt water from their ponds, rebuilding their lives,” said Jaju.

NGO Tepantarer Swapna and Sudhu Sundarban Charcha, a Bengali quarterly magazine exclusively on the Sundarbans, who have been working for the people there for the past 11 years reached upto Mousuni island that was heavily damaged. Not only did they distribute food and relief items, but also transferred cash to bank accounts of 1,000 villagers. “We realised they needed money more than anything so we transferred Rs 1,000 to 1,000 villagers,” said Jyotindra Narayan Lahiri, brain behind the campaign.

The Samaritans also included air traffic controller Kailash Pati Mandal and travel agent Jaydeep Mukehrjee. Mandal through his NGO, Sabdarnagar Education & Welfare Society, distributed tarpaulin, mosquito nets and cyclone relief packets to 200 homeless families in the Sandeshkhali area and emergency electrical and solar charging lights along with nutrition drink to 250 families in Hingalganj.

Mukherjee distributed 250 relief packs to 250 families at Beltolibazar in Gosaba.


Source: Times of India

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