Andhra Pradesh - like so many other Indian states - is constantly threatened by natural disasters. Typhoons batter its coast on the Bay of Bengal, heavy monsoon rains often engender catastrophic floods, the recurrent summer heat waves kill hundreds in massive fire outbreaks, and failed monsoons prevent the cultivation of most crops and deprive thousands of families of their livelihoods. The poor and the weak are most vulnerable to these natural calamities. In 1977, 50,000 lives were swept away by one of the most powerful typhoons to hit the Indian subcontinent; more recently, cyclones killed 2000 people in 1996 and 1000 people in 2005. Every year, the sweltering heat claims between 1000 and 1500 lives.

When disaster strikes the area, Care&Share is always on the front lines of emergency relief operations. We offer food and medical treatment, help families rebuild their homes, and provide them with the means to restart their businesses. In 2005 alone, we had to cope with two disasters of truly dramatic proportions. First, the tsunami ravaged the Andhra coast, killing hundreds. Then, during the summer rising flood waters left 100,000 people homeless throughout the state. Under these circumstances, Care&Share always adopts an “act first, think second” approach. In both cases, we rushed to help those in need - who had lost everything in one brief, fateful moment - whether or not we had the funds to do so.

Drought Emergency 2009:
At Risk 5242 Meals a Day

Dear Friends,

It will be known to you that our summer corresponds to the monsoon season in India. The monsoons however come from the west coast (Bombay coast). In our area which is on the east coast we only get the "tails" of the monsoons with much less and less frequent rains. A good part of Andhra Pradesh (the whole area around the capital Hyderabad) is a semi-desert area. Andhra Pradesh is larger than the state of Colorado and is the sixth poorest state in India. Being a rural area it is considered to be -- together with other confining rural states -- the "rice bowl of India" with two crops a year (rice is 77% of its total crops). Even sugarcane is grown almost everywhere.

I've been in India every summer since 1995 and I never experienced a monsoon season with no rain. With the intention of becoming more self-sufficient we also planted vegetables and fruit trees in Butterfly Hill at the beginning of the season. Now we risk to lose everything.

We have calculated that we cook 5242 meals a day for the children of Daddy's Home, Butterfly Hill, Sweet Home, Toti's Home, Babies' Home, Helen Keller Institute for the Handicapped, the slum schools of Autonagar and Alankar, Bishop Azaraiah school, Observation Home, Happy Home and the Night Shelter.

Until March 2007 each kilo of rice cost 6 rupees thanks to a government concession that was cancelled at that time. The money was diverted to give farmers free electricity. Now every kilo costs us 24 rupees and we need 10.665 kg. a month. In March we calculated that the sponsorship fees of those under our total care were one third insufficient to cover their yearly needs, and 90 of these kids were not even sponsored. Due to the world financial crisis is it obviously not possible to increase the sponsorship fees. Hence we calculated that this year we will have a 200.000 USD deficit. We have stopped admitting children despite we have space in our new homes in Butterfly Hill.

As if this situation was not bad enough....now even the weather is against us! Since December is has rained only 3 times. A very critical situation. Some hopeful farmers planted rice at the beginning of the monsoon season and lost everything. Others waited. Wherever you look you see dry land baking under the hot sun. EVEN IF it rained, it would be too late to plant rice. This is a gigantic disaster for India. Today BBC announced the increase of the cost of sugar due to this situation.

In July waiting for the usual rains we cleared in Butterfly Hill all the area possible under the mango trees to plant vegetables. Out of the 850 plants, more than half of them were planted also in a fruit grove. Rain never came. In the extreme tentative to save our plants we have suspended school hours to give the boys time to go around the 40 acre campus to water the plants : first they must eat and then go to school.

At the market there is nothing to buy and most everything costs triple. So the loss amount calculated in March will greatly increase. We don't know what to do. Soon we won't have sufficient money to feed the kids.

Due to the financial crisis I know well the difficulty of those reading this to help us out. Nevertheless I ask you to send us even a small amount....because every dollar and every euro will be a help.

If possible please send what you can to Care & Share USA, Care & Share Charitable Trust India or to Care & Share Italia Onlus Ong mentioning "FOOD".

For those of you in India our account is : Indian Overseas Bank - Account N. 15155 - Ring Road Branch - Vijayawada.

For those of you reading us in Europe our bank account in Italy is account 021010 in the name of Care & Share Italia Onlus ONG c/o Banco San Marco (Venice, Italy). IBAN Code : IT42U0518802001000000021010

Thank you for the help you can give!


Black Sunday: The 2004 Tsunami

Sunday, December 26, was Pournami - a full moon day - considered an auspicious day for taking a holy dip in the sea and praying to the Sun God. About 300 people were reported to be on the Manginapudi beach in the early morning. Many had come from Machilipatnam, Vijayawada and elsewhere. About 100 fishermen had set out to sea in their small rafts. Those who had returned from a night of fishing were on the shore taking their catch in and drying out their nets.

The beach suddenly turned into a graveyard when a huge tidal wave swept the people deep into the sea. No one knows how many people perished in the disaster. At the end of the day, 26 bodies were recovered and identified. Eyewitnesses spoke of a truck with some 100 local people that washed ashore; it seems that 50 of them are still missing. A family of 20 lost 7 of its members - all women and children. The death toll is certainly in the hundreds. The fishermen's huts on the beach of Mangnapudi were all been destroyed and the survivors took shelter in the Care&Share Joy School. It is a similar situation all along the coast of Andhra Pradesh. Places like Peddapatnam (List 2) Machilipatnam (List 11) Bantumilli (List 53) were all affected, with the sea water rushing inland. The people of Peddapatnam island were evacuated to Machilipatnam town and have been sheltered in a Government college building.

Thanks to the outpouring of support from our sponsors, over the next days and weeks Care&Share took care of the displaced families, fed them, rebuilt their huts, and satisfied their basic necessities. We traveled up and down the Andhra coast to remote and difficultly accessible villages that had been all but ignored by most of the governmental and non-governmental relief operations: Manginapudi, the Bantumilli area, Thadivennu, Niddamarru, Chinagollapalem Island, Laxmipuram, Sathinapalem, Yesupuram, Kruthivennu, Malampudi, Matlam, Nachukunta, Peddapatnam, Sathenapalem, Podu, Padathadika, Varlagondithippa.

We assisted thousands, provided medicines, administered vaccines, helped de-salinate the fields, dug new drinking water wells, restored sanitation, and purchased dozens of brand new fishing boats and nets to allow the local villagers to get back on their feet. We renovated and repainted two schools (and just received funding to renovate two others), rebuilt two bidges, set up new fishing platforms, and restored the pipelines bringing water to the village of Niddamarru.

Our Intervention in Numbers

Families Helped
4411
Lentils
12,025kgs
Rice
66,950kgs
Utensils
17,241
Oil
9,980kgs
Mats
3625
Water
19000 liters
Soap
35,422
Vaccinations
3570
Medications
1255
Dental Care
237
Water Wells
38
Boats
163
Nets
483


The Deluge, 2005

Eight months after the tsunami, which ravaged the coastal area around Machilipatnam, another natural calamity has been violently thrust upon the state of Andhra Pradesh. This time, it is the city of Vijayawada, the third largest in the state and the center of Care&Share operations, that faced the most severe threat. While the tsunami killed and left thousands of people homeless though the abrupt and explosive punch packed by its enormous tidal waves, this time the lives of thousands were slowly destroyed by the relentless and equally inexorable force of the river Krishna, which has been intermittently flooding large and heavily populated areas of the city.

The river Krishna is one of India’s most sacred rivers. It originates in the state of Maharashtra (near Bombay), flows eastwards through all of Andhra Pradesh, and meets the sea 600 miles downstream in the Bay of Bengal. Two big dams have been constructed on the river, one at Srisailam and the other at Nagarjuna Hill. Due to the chronic lack of rains, over the last 20 years the river Krishna has repeatedly stopped flowing past the city of Vijayawada. Its bed has often looked desolately dry. Because of the dwindling water levels, many have purchased or occupied land once considered at high risk of experiencing floods and inundations.

Some have even begun building inside the river bed. Approximately 3,000 families – mostly ragpickers and rickshaw pullers – live in the slum of Brahmarambapuram in conditions of abject poverty. Thousands of others live in many similar slums that have arisen in or along the river. These areas, where indigence, malnutrition, and disease are already so prevalent, are now facing an emergency of far more dramatic proportions.

Following the unprecedentedly heavy rains that swamped the city of Bombay in July, massive inflows of water prompted authorities to begin releasing waters from Nagarjuna Sagar on August 5. At first, 500 thousand cubic feet per second were being released, but this amount was gradually increased. As the water steadily flowed downstream, the Krishna once again became a raging river, quickly reclaiming more and more of its once-dried up river bed. In the span of just two days, the water in the city of Vijayawada rose well past its highest level since 1998.

Quite obviously, the first victims of this tragedy were the slum dwellers of Vijayawada. The slum of Brahmarambapuram was completely submerged; the river mercilessly washed all of its mud huts away. Everyone has lost their homes. While much sturdier than any building around it, even our school suffered some damage. As a result, the city of Vijayawada faced a severe humanitarian crisis. 10,000 families were evacuated into 18 makeshift refugee camps hastily set up by the local government. Many people at first refused to leave behind whatever little they had; eventually, they had to be forcefully removed by the police. Some were taken to local public schools, others to Indira Gandhi stadium, and others still to Pandit Nehru Bus Station. The scene at the bus station was disturbing. Approximately 1000 families were staying there, lying on the filthy floors with their miserable possessions. The stench quickly became unbearable, as people had begun urinating and defecating all around. In the schools we visited, the situation was just as dramatic. People were packed in small rooms with little food and insufficient sanitation.

Care&Share rapidly intervened to make sure that these people would at least be adequately fed. For weeks, we have cooked and distributed two meals a day – consisting of some rice and curry – for over 2000 people. We also provided medical assistance to some of the displaced families. Our intervention proved costly. Not only did we need to feed, treat, and vaccinate thousands; given that these wretched people had lost everything and had nowhere else to go, we committed to helping them rebuild their homes and get their lives back together.

As soon as the waters receded, we began helping the displaced families by providing the materials to make better, sturdier huts. Even heavier rains in September, however, once again swamped Vijayawada. Everything we had already donated to the Brahmarambapuram slum dwellers was lost, carried downstream by the river Krishna, and the people were back in the bus stand. To make things worse, other areas we sponsor were evacuated; due to the collapse of a river bank, the Rajarajeswari slum went under water, as well as parts of Daddy's Home. The rail tracks between Vijayawada and Hyderabad were cut off. 100,000 people throughout Andhra were left homeless; entire villages were washed away by the river’s fury.

 


 



 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




USA: Care & Share USA Inc. — 223 Double Gate Way — Sugar Hill, GA 30518-8904 — Email: info@careshareindia.org
INDIA: Care & Share Charitable Trust — 40-9-73/6 AVR Arcades 1st Floor — Sai Nagar, Benz Circle — Vijayawada, AP 520 008

EUROPE: Care & Share Italia Onlus ONG — Castello 6084 — 30122 Venezia — Phone: +39-041-2443292 — Email: careshare@careshare.org

AUSTRALIA: c/o Cecil Harper — 15 Barnsley Drive, Endeavour Hills — Vic 3802 — Melbourne — Phone: +61 422313358