“In times of adversity we really discover who we are and what were made of. “ – Howard Schultz. Adversity and misfortune is what Manipur is facing today. In the midst of a social crisis and imperiled livelihood for the poorest of the poor, Manipur was hit with the flood of the century. It has devastated several parts of the state washing away homes and villages. Many families and whole communities have been rendered homeless leaving them in desperate need of humanitarian support. In such a time of acute need, volunteers and common people has proven the true spirit of Manipuris’.
Among all the bad news coming out of Manipur, these are the glimmers of hope. When the photos of the massive flood taken by freelance photojournalists spread through the internet, the scale of the destruction became apparent to the world. Many good Samaritans in Manipur and elsewhere wanted to donate and help but they found no channels, either NGO or government, for disaster relief. Volunteers in Manipur took it upon themselves to help our brothers and sisters in need by raising funds, procuring essential goods and distributing humanitarian aid through any feasible means.
Inspired by the effort of the volunteers in Manipur, a group of friends who play football on weekends in Sunnyvale, California, got together to help in this effort in the only form they could by raising funds. Many had been contributing on their own through their leikais and family in Manipur. Manipuris and their friends from around the San Francisco Bay Area contributed generously and raised more than Rs 1.2 Lac. The collected funds were sent for immediate use to Flood Relief Manipur (FRM), Helping Hands Manipur (HHM) and Volunteers for Disaster Relief Forum(VDRF) to deliver relief, clean water and medicine. They shared ideas to field-assemble water filters using gravel, sand, charcoal and other common household goods both for home and community use in a sustainable way. While it is a drop in the ocean in light of the overwhelming need of the hour, these volunteer groups have transparency for their funds and every rupee reaches the needy.
It is unfortunate that there was no immediate massive mobilization of resources from the state and central government several days into this calamity. There has been no large-scale effort to assess and provide relief to those affected in far-flung areas in the critical days after such a major natural disaster. Volunteers on ground have highlighted the urgent need for aid in those areas that are cutoff from rest of the state. Roads and bridges have been washed away. We urge the state and central government to allocate all available resources to provide urgent relief, rehabilitation and in the reconstruction of roads and bridges.
We are in solidarity with the people affected by the recent flood. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We salute the volunteers on the ground from all parts of Manipur who have taken upon themselves to help those in need. We appreciate the efforts of fellow Manipuris around the world who came together in this global effort to aid the affected people.
San Francisco Bay area Manipuri Community