24th November 2018
Extensive floods caused by abnormal monsoon rains devastated hundreds of communities in Kerala, south west India, earlier this year. More than 500 people lost their lives, 3.4 million were displaced to 12,300 relief camps and some 23 million were affected.
As the extent of the disaster grew the Indian Government appealed for external help and lifted import duties on humanitarian aid. In October. Aquabox – the charity managed by the Rotary Club of Wirksworth in Derbyshire – established links with 3 Rotary clubs in Kerala including the Rotary Club of Aroor Satellite City and sent each of them a consignment of Aquafilters to be distributed to those families in greatest need. Members of the Aroor Club, acting as flood coordinators, set up seminars to train local community leaders and teachers in the use of the Aquafilters, ensuring that families were able to safely convert contaminated water into safe drinking water.
At the same time the Worldwaterworks charity managed by the Rotary Club of Chelwood Bridge in Somerset responded to a request for help from its new partner NGO - Khalsa Aid International. Khalsa Aid teams in Kerala, who had been running food kitchens for several thousands for some weeks, were sent a consignment of Water-Survival Boxes to provide water filtration kits and other essential survival items. The water filtration kits and hygiene products were urgently needed to help protect against water-borne disease.
The management teams of Aquabox and Worldwaterworks had been working together with a view to sending water filtration kits into Indonesia for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi. However, the Indonesian Government imposed a ban on the importation of humanitarian aid and by 10th November it became clear that there was no prospect of the ban being lifted.
At this time Aquabox received a further request for water filtration kits from the Aroor Satellite City Rotary Club and our two UK Rotary charities agreed to send a joint consignment comprising 480 Aquafilter Family kits and 18 Community filters.
Earlier this year the first joint consignment of humanitarian aid, comprising both Aquaboxes and Water-Survival Boxes, was sent to Somalia for distribution by partner NGO World Vision to families also affected by severe floods.
As volunteer led Rotary charities both are heavily dependent on Rotary Clubs for the funding support to enable them to continue to provide urgent humanitarian aid following disasters across the globe.