Friday, June 5, 2009

Extend Your Support to Aila-victims


A severe cyclone Aila on 25 May hit Sunderban of south Bengal, India . You may be aware of the current state of Aila victims of Sundarban. But, the picture which is being reflected in media hardly presents the reality. In reality, the remote areas still remain out of reach.

On 31 May, last Sunday our ten-member team went to Bhandarkhali (Hingalgunge) of Sundarban to handover the relief already collected. We were first asked "How many days you are going to stay?" by local people working for relief work. We were obviously embarrassed as we had to return on the same day. Then we requested to accompany us to visit some areas. However, we were not able to visit areas which are severely affected, such as Samsernagar—we visited Hatgachha, which is at the border of Hingalgunge and Sandeshkhali.

What we have seen is difficult to describe; almost everything has been wiped away—we have not seen any hut in the affected area—all have been destroyed either completely or severely; but here people have managed to have some food and started making makeshift shelters. Shelters were being made with materials came from flood. Some were using plastic sheet. They said that they used to receive food-stuffs from different groups engaged in relief-work, but it is mostly confined to places very close to rivers.

In this particular place, there is one tube-well which remains at a dry place, so people can collect drinking water from it. We have seen group of people coming Lebukhali through votvoti (a sort of motor driven boat) just to collect drinking water.

We distributed some medicines, mostly Metronidazole and Norfloxacin to the villagers. But, it was almost nothing compared to the demand. People complained that no Panchayet (local administrative body) leader had bothered to visit them. It is the place where MLA Gopal Gayen was hackled by local people later, and Chief Minister faced tough questions.

We were amazed by the spirit and confidence of the people. Right now they do not mourn, rather keep on their struggle. We have heard how people have saved Bhanderkhali. Three to five individuals laying down one above another at different places on embankment, from where water could enter saved the village. They are the real heroes. We were fortunate to meet a boy who was working in relief at Chhotomollakhali, where they used a fishing troller to provide shelter to flood-hit people. To support the struggle of the people of Sunderban, we have formed a committee along with local people. We have already appealed to different mass organizations to support our initiative. In response, Sanhati Udyoug is going to send its tem on next Thursday. A tem is going on Sunday (7 June). Sramajibi Swahtha Udyog (A groupf of doctors working for workers) has already started their visit. We have a plan to visit either on coming or next Sunday with sufficient relief. People of Aila hit Sundarban now need medicines, foods, drinking water and clothing.

We request your support as well.
Sibabrata Sana

on behalf of
Committee to Combat Natural Disaster in Sunderban

Contact: +91-9330074586

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