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Relief Distribution: a small step in rebuilding their lives


“I am old I cannot go out at will. But when the floods come, there was no option but to keep indoors. Living alone was miserable. To top it all, this time the floods washed whatever little I had. But thanks to Red Cross for giving me this kitchen set and other items by which I could restart my life”. Mema Thingujam, age 68, living in a small village in east of Imphal, had to say!

She completed her statement by saying “like others, Red Cross did not forget me” there are many families like Mema, who echoed the same thought that in this hour of need the Indian Red Cross, Manipur state branch was with them. The first 48 hours of the disaster are crucial and the state branch mobilised the family tents, and had pitched them on a highland so that affected families at least have a place to live.

The volunteers initiated an assessment of the situation and the state branch acted fast in getting in touch with the Indian Red Cross national headquarters, and asking them to mobilise resources. Which in turn got in touch with the Federation, the International Committee of Red Cross and the European Union. This “connectivity” mobilised the disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) for two states i.e. Manipur and Assam. The state branch had requested after assessment that it wants to mobilise non-food items for 2,000 families.

Children coming back from school stop over at the IRCS water purification unit

Out of the total affected population, who would be the Red Cross beneficiaries and which district to target was a big challenge. But the state branch team found their answer in ODK and Mega V. This software not only helped them in identifying the beneficiaries but also, assisted them to administer the operation by developing a barcode and creating a beneficiary card along with scanning and delivering of the relief material. The whole system was hassle free and the beneficiary list can be accessed any time. The ODK kit comes along with software and hardware (a laptop and a barcode scanner).

Simultaneously as the DREF operation was being planned the Indian Red Cross state branch was also coordinating the water and sanitation needs to be addressed through mobilising local, national and international resources. This effort resulted in the setting up of three water purifying unit and six latrines.

Beneficiary card being given to a beneficiary
with the help of the ODK kit
Beneficiary receiving relief aid in
Manipur - Indian Red Cross

“I am unhappy, I can’t go to school. I lost my books in the floods. I do not know when my school will reopen,” Wanhjam Chital, a 13 year old girl staying at Bishnupur, Moirang district said. The life of this area is not only challenging in terms of routine but also when the water starts receding there are many diseases, including several skin diseases, that may emerge. Thangjam Bonomala, a 45 year old female has been experiencing skin diseases and worriedly says “I don’t know if my skin will be clear again, and these scars burn in sunlight”.

Thangjam Bonomala (45)

Indian Red Cross cannot take care of all the community issues but has been a strong actor in the field of development and help the community in rebuilding their lives.

Villagers near Imphal

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