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Kerala Floods: Roads Under Water, but ‘Floating Shops’ Ensure Needy Get Food

The issue is that, in Kuttanad, all the ration shops went under water. The entire stock has been damaged so we need to clear it and rebuild ration shops and then refill them.

Post floods, a massive challenge for Kerala and her people is to return to normal life. But, given the damage and the costs, this certainly will not be an easy task.

In Kuttanad, for example, the floods caused extensive havoc and washed away houses, office and stored ration that could have fed the district of Alappuzha for months. The opening of the dam gates worsened the situation.

In fact, if not for the quick thinking and action of Alappuzha’s sub-collector, Krishna Teja Mylavarapu and state Finance Minister, Dr Isaac Thomas, thousands of lives could have been lost within a matter of hours.

Here is the story of how they undertook a historic rescue mission of over 2 lakh people and thousands of animals within three days.

IAS officer Krishna Teja at a relief camp. Source: Facebook/ Narasimha Rao Juturu.

However, ‘Operation Kuttanad’ was only the beginning. For two weeks after that, they had to organise and manage several relief camps, ensuring that people were well-fed, comfortable and relatively happy in their temporary homes. And they succeeded.

Even then, it would not be wrong to say that the battle is only half won. After the flood waters receded and people went home, they realised that all of their stored food was damaged. They also could not buy any groceries because the storage areas were also submerged, and restoring the damaged goods would naturally take some time.

This is where the district administration and the Ministry of Civil Supplies (MCS) office has stepped in to help. A reliable source from the district administration office (who requested to remain unnamed) told The Better India,

“The district administration and the MSC have started ‘floating’ ration shops and grocery stores in Kuttanad.

Source: Facebook/ District Collector Alappuzha.

The issue is that, in Kuttanad, all the ration shops went under water. The entire stock has been damaged so we need to clear it and rebuild ration shops and then refill them. That may take some time. But in the meanwhile, these floating ration shops are there for the people.”

The idea is simple—since boats can access most parts of Kuttanad, the authorities have turned them into makeshift ration shops.


GiveIndia and The Better India have come together to help Rebuild Kerala by supporting 41,000 affected families. You too can be a part of this movement and help us raise funds for the NGOs working to rehabilitate these families. If all of us come together with a small monthly contribution, we can make a real and meaningful difference in helping restore normalcy to those who need our help the most.

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“We chose medium-sized motor boats because the large ones will have restricted access and the small ones won’t be able to hold a sufficient amount of ration,” the official told TBI.

The shops are of two kinds—one for regular foodstuff, like rice and sugar for example—and the other is the ‘Maveli store’ which sells items like snacks and biscuits.

So, how will the people of Kuttanad access these shops?

An official from the MCS told TBI, “We print the schedules of the boats in newspapers. So people know where the boat will be at what time. It doesn’t matter which panchayat of Kuttanad you are from. If you are at the boat-stop, you will be given the ration. All you need is your fingerprint registered in your Aadhaar card. You can buy the ration at subsidised rates wherever the boat stops.”


GiveIndia and The Better India have come together to help Rebuild Kerala by supporting 41,000 affected families. You too can be a part of this movement and help us raise funds for the NGOs working to rehabilitate these families. If all of us come together with a small monthly contribution, we can make a real and meaningful difference in helping restore normalcy to those who need our help the most.

Unable to view the above button? Click here


 

Civil Supplies Minister, P Thilothaman told the Deccan Chronicle, “The food distribution is being held effectively in relief camps in the state without any complaints. Damaged grain stored in flooded ration shops will be burnt. People who lost ration cards will be issued ration if they produce their mobile number. As all the 12 Maveli stores were flooded, two more floating Maveli stores have been introduced in Kuttanad.”

Efforts like these are proving to be instrumental in helping Kerala get back to its feet. Also, the government and citizens deserve a massive hat tip—without the initiatives of the former and the co-operation of the latter, the state might not have been able to cope with the destructive floods this well.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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