This year, Kerala is celebrating a different Onam. The rains that tore its way through the state have stopped just in time. A lot has been lost and damaged but something has also been restored — faith in humanity.
In the wake of the cruel Kerala floods, the whole world stood witness to magnificent acts of kindness. There has been an incredible amount of support pouring in from the government, nonprofits, corporates, the diaspora of the state, tycoons and celebrities. But there are a few extraordinary stories of humanity that warm our hearts. Here’s a list of some of our favourites:
1. Extraordinary citizens of India
Over the past week, all our social feeds have been filled with stories of everyday folk who’ve come forward in exemplary ways to help those affected by the floods in Kerala. A young girl gave away the money she was saving to get a bicycle. Two siblings broke their piggy bank to give all they had. A journalist gave away all the money he had kept aside for his daughter’s engagement. A girl donated 1 acre of inherited land. A blanket merchant donated his entire stock of blankets. These people and many more like them embodied the spirit of giving beautifully. They reminded us in big ways how every little bit we give can matter.
2. Helpers for our four-legged friends
While a majority of rescue and relief is focused on humans after a disaster, there were a few groups who did wonderful work to save animals who were caught in the Kerala Floods as well. Shravan Krishnan and Dinesh Baba who run two Chennai-based NGOs for animals set out on a mission to save as many pets as they could in the disaster. The India-based team of Humane Society International also stepped forward to rush to the ground with medicines and aid for animals. It’s reassuring to know that there are many who think about our animals, even during disasters.
3. The fishermen of Kerala
#Thread Went to Vizhinjam coast to meet the fishermen who took part in rescue mission in #KeralaFloods . We were filled with positive energy and happiness hearing their experiences (1/n) pic.twitter.com/W9Fux2vBZb
— Jikku Varghese Jacob (@Jikkuvarghese) August 21, 2018
Kerala has found their superheroes — their fishermen. Hundreds of fishermen left their homes and set sail the moment they heard about the flood. They believed that it was their responsibility to do whatever they could to rescue people as they knew the sea best. They knew that their boats would get ravaged by the waters but they didn’t think twice before heading out. Isn’t that absolutely inspiring?
4. The Defence Forces
The army, navy and air force teams that were deployed for rescue, saved the lives of over 23,000 people in the floods! Their officers carried out missions that were life-threatening without a single thought. Let’s take a moment to pay our gratitude to these men who keep our nation safe in so many ways every day.
5. Sex workers and jail inmates
Some of the most excluded groups in our society have come forward to offer their help in ways that move us. A group of sex workers in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district have donated Rs. 21,000 to the Kerala flood victims. The inmates of Thiruvananthapuram Central Prison worked hard been to provide clean food for the rescued people who have been living in relief camps in Kerala. They cooked between 40,000 to 50,000 chapatis for the flood victims.
6. Religious institutions
Overwhelmingly beautiful gestures of kindness were shown by religious institutions during the floods. A mosque opened their doors to 20 Hindu families, providing them food and shelter while they were stranded. At the same time, a temple that was housing Muslim families provided them with a space to offer their Eid prayers. The harmony, respect and love showed by these people deeply etch the imprint of goodness into our country.
People have also been thinking about how they can use their skills and gifts to help those in need. Artists and designers from across the country are selling their paintings, clothes and accessories to raise money for those affected by the floods.
8. Collection groups in cities
As soon as the media caught wind of the scale of the disaster, people from all over the country began to think of how they could help. Collection groups sprung up in almost every city in the country immediately. People donated everything they could and wholeheartedly volunteered to get relief packages ready for Kerala.
Through the floods, people across India made the choice to give — their time, skills, labour, shelter, food, material or money. Kerala steps into the next phase knowing that it’s backed by a country that cares to help rebuild it.