Hyderabad: The city is yet to recover from the havoc caused by the incessant rain and flood. Although the water has receded in several areas, some areas such as the Old City still have heaps of garbage and private property lying scattered in their lanes. While many celebrities and ministers have extended monetary support, it is the small scale NGOs that are the real warriors who are trying to help people, even with a multitude of problems that are making their work increasingly difficult.
Identification of needy families
The organisations are facing problem identifying the right family or even the right individual affected by the torrential weather and needs food and rations. Due to this, the distribution of food packets and ration is uneven and sometimes relief doesn't reach the people who need it the most.
“When we go to distribute the food, many come to us for it. Some of them have the resources to procure it themselves so we turn them away, but sometimes we miss out on the people who need it the most. These people don't know how to reach us so only the people who know about the food distribution benefit from it,” said Arshad Shaik from the Kalam Foundation, who has been distributing food in the Nadeem Colony, Bahadurpur, of the Old City.
Kalam Foundation is an initiative that caters to the educational needs of underprivileged children in the slums of Hyderabad. The foundation distributed food ration to the families of children enrolled with the foundation.
The organisations are not able to reach many as many areas are still inundated and the continuous rain is only making their efforts go in vain. “Because of the inundation, the GHMC authorities are not allowing us to go to those affected areas and provide rations to the people. If we try to go out, the rain starts again and we don’t reach them in time,” said Arshad Shaik.
“Rainwater levels are receding but people need help urgently. To reach there we need boats but the government has a limited number. Our efforts to reach to the needy are being hampered by the rain,” said Mohammad Sujathulla from the Humanity First Foundation.
No resources to cook food
The situation has become so dire in people’s homes as even the items needed to cook food such as the utensils have been washed out of homes and the gas stoves are not working. Mud and garbage have been piled up inside, and the beds and sofas lie soaked from dirty floodwater. If the organisations are trying to help with the ration people don’t have the resources to cook. “The food packets last for a day or two but they need their utensils and gas stoves to cook. They are also asking for blankets as theirs are soaked,” said Sujathulla. Sujathulla along with volunteers of his organisation have started cleaning the houses in the Old City that have been filled with garbage and mud. "The GHMC cleans the streets and the lanes but many need help to clean their houses too," Sujathulla added.
Fear of leaving homes
“Several community halls and schools have been setup as relief camps in areas which were inundated. We provide the affected with the necessary relief items there but some were being adamant about not moving out of their houses. The GHMC was forcefully asking them to move out,” said Maria Tabassum of the Access Foundation. Those refusing to leave their homes are only moving to the top floor to avoid the water.
In the last week, around 90 people in flood relief camps have tested positive for COVID-19. But the fear of catching the deadly virus has not dampened relief works. “At the relief camps, there are no doctors. But there should be so that the identification of people infected by the COVID-19 can be made easy. The government should do mass testing inside the camps,” said Maria Tabbasum.