Rudraprayag Relief Project: An Update

The team started day 4, 27th July, at 7am from the hotel at Tilwara and heading for Rudraprayag. The target was to reach Makku Math by afternoon. Unfortunately within 2km of the hotel, there had been a breach on the road which meant that they ended up stuck there till 1415 hrs.
They were able to finally reach Makku Math by 2030 hrs where they met the Gram Pradhan, Mrs Dasmi Devi. They explained the purpose of their visit and were welcomed and given a room at the local temple's dharamshala where they had a quick dinner and settled in for the night. Since there was no electricity in the village they used the solar lanterns acquired from d light and also used the cooking equipment from Aaranya. The meal was maggi and soup brought from Delhi and prepared by Sanjay and Mahesh Mandal, our volunteers from Omaxe.

The truck that also started from Shivpuri early on day 4, had to take a detour at Devprayag due to a breach on the road to Srinagar and was only able to reach Karanprayag by nightfall.

On 28th July, they first scouted for possible campsites by the road around the village but found the offer made by the pradhan of an empty store by the road to be the most practical.

They spent the rest of the morning talking to the pradhan, a BA grad who had studied in Delhi till class 8th. She was quite a spirited lady who has been the pradhan since 2008 and is also an Asha volunteer and a Red Cross volunteer. She has two daughters and she and her husband tend their fields for income.

She was able to get them an old empty store at the Makku Math market which would be considered paid for against a sack of supplies to the owner.

The truck reached the village by 1800 hrs but stopped again as the driver refused to drive over a narrow patch of road about 500m from the market. We were able to get a local driver who drove the truck to the shop. Thereafter, the locals got organized in a chain to transfer the sacks into the shop. Some curious bystanders were trying to figure out if there were solar lanterns being distributed as well since there was no power since mid-June.

Day 6, 29th July. The truck returned in the morning with a local driver. The morning was spent taking an inventory. They have-
1. 15 cartons of oil pouches
2. 153 sacks containing no atta
3. 13 sacks containing both rice and atta.

Since the gram sabha of Makku Math contains over 300 families and there are 2 other gram sabhas nearby they spoke to the pradhan about getting a list of people that are the most needy of relief supplies within Makhu Math gram sabha. Given that we will be able to distribute to only 166 families, they needed to create a list of families to distribute to. The gram pradhan has provided the list of all families with seperation into
1. Families with missing members (15-20 across the 3 gram sabhas)
2. Families below poverty line in Makku Math gram sabha
3. Families above poverty line.

They plan to create a priority list of families including all victims and BPL families to distribute the supplies. The distribution would start tomorrow and families will be instructed to come with ration cards to receive the supply.

The remaining families will be supplied from the second batch of relief material expected from Delhi by 4th August.

They would be visiting the local school with the pradhan in morning to work on the long term opportunity for impact.

Mail received from Nithin on July 30, 2013:

Some updates:

1. Hamit left this morning by local transport instead of returning with the truck yesterday. Since the driver was very low on confidence, a local driver was required to drive back the truck over the hilly terrain. The truck could accommodate only 3 people in the cabin so 1 person would have had to ride in the back till the local driver got off. Hamit could not adjust and decided to get back on his own using a combination of local transport and treks.

2. Hamit also told us that he gave away one of the relief sacks to an old woman encountered on the way. No details are available.

3. As far as volunteers go, 4 are quite adequate to run distribution and scouting. And we are comfortably fitted into the room (pic attached). If more volunteers come, we would not have any work for them and our room will get overcrowded. We would also run out of gas in the cylinder if cooking for additional people. So please see if we can avoid any volunteers who would not return with the truck.

4. We had a conversation with the admin officer of the temple complex and he asked that we provide rice (60-70kgs) for the temple bhog in place of paying any rent. He asked if we could remove rice from some bags and give it. Have explained to him that it would ruin the sacks and that we will talk to the Delhi office about sending rice separately with the next truck for the temple. Please see how much you can send. They use about 2kg everyday and asked if we can provide rice for a month.

5. Similarly, villagers not getting supplies from the first lot are being told that the next lot woul be here in 5-6 days to pacify them and we would like to get the next lot asap.

6. To answer Gen Chand, on solar lamps, Srikkant and I believe that you could look at providing an S2 lamp for each student in the intermediate college at Makku Math (about 264) rather than the families. The power situation is improving everyday and under BAU it is quite stable here. Of course, everyone would like to get their hands on one and we can distribute as many as we get. Also, the government is providing solar lanterns to families with missing members and lanterns are on sale at about rs2500 locally.

7. There are about 50 SC families in the Makku Math gram sabha and they are all being given supplies from the 1st lot.