September 3, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
KERALA, INDIA: Children around the world are donating their piggy banks to the Kids for Kerala fundraising campaign launched by United Sikhs, a global United Nations affiliated non-profit dedicated to disaster relief and humanitarian advocacy. To date, Kids for Kerala have raised $5,000 in funds among children in Africa, Australia, Canada, France, India, the United States and United Kingdom for the organization’s mobile medical camp serving the remote tribal regions ravaged by the record monsoon.
Working to combat the spread of leptospirosis and dengue outbreaks, United Sikhs contributed all funds raised by Kids for Kerala to administer critical healthcare, medicine and food supply to more than 1,000 tribal villagers, with a specific focus on babies, bed-ridden elders and pregnant women most at-risk, reads a community update by the United Sikhs.
“A large portion of the funds were used to rent a boat, which served as a medical camp on water, reaching villagers left stranded on higher ground where severe flooding remains”, the report reads further.
According to Health Dept. officials, 110 people are presently being treated for leptospirosis in Kerala, and one man, who died in Malappuram last week, is suspected to have been suffering from the disease. Nearly 400 people in total have died from the flood and about 800,000 residents have been displaced from their homes. Government officials report $2.7 billion in estimated damages with 20,000 destroyed houses, 40,000 submerged hectares of farmland — including those growing tea, rubber and other commodities — and 83,000km of damaged roads, including 16,000km of major arteries.
Led by Dr. Abhishek Aggarwal, Vice President of the Resident Doctors Association at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, United Sikhs volunteers crossed through floodwaters, mudslides and harsh landscape conditions to provide medicine, health check-ups, blankets and food supply to tribal villages. Since arriving on ground zero, the organization has received recognition and support from the local public administration, physicians and medical staff of the DM Wayanad Institute of Medical Sciences and Vivekananda Medical Mission for providing exclusive medical care to families affected in the Wayanad District, which has around 20% tribal population.
Adding to United Sikhs’ relief efforts, the Health Ministry today sent a team of more than 100 medical professionals, including specialist doctors, to Kerala’s most populous regions. The organization continues to work with local officials and volunteer nutritionists to provide food distribution at its base camp, located at the Sree Sankara Vidyaniketan School. Dozens of villagers arrive daily to receive needed household items, such as blankets, buckets and cooking utensils, as well as food supply, including water, rice, lentils, flour, masala, oil and sugar.
“Common illnesses post-flood, such as leptospirosis, dysentery, dengue and malaria can be life threatening to young children and elders if left untreated,” said Dr. Abhishek Aggarwal, United Sikhs Crisis Team Volunteer. “United Sikhs is reaching those who otherwise would not have access to this much-needed care. This humanitarian crisis is far-reaching and will require long-term strategies to combat the deadly spread of disease, which remains our top priority.”
During recovery activity, the organization is urging all residents to follow the guidance issued by the Directorate of Health Services: