Stronger Kolkata Initiative
Region: Pathorpratima & Sagar Islands
District: South 24 Paraganas, West Bengal
Name of Initiative representative: Sayan Bhattacharya, Chirag
Q: Tell us about the initiative
SKI: “Our organisation runs a school in Pathorpratima Island, Sunderbans and works with a school at Sagar Islands. In both these places massive loss to livelihood has occurred. Saline water due to cross flooding from both the sea and river has resulted in destruction of farmlands en masse: both agricultural fields and ponds bearing fish where now dead fish float. People living in kutcha houses have been rendered completely homeless and have suffered a severe loss of personal assets. A ration and clean drinking water crisis has arisen along with a crisis to find a shelter from the torrential rain and flooding.“
Q: How has covid and any other disaster together created this crisis?
SKI:“The lockdown associated with Covid-19 pandemic had rendered several people in Sunderbans unemployed, many of them migrant labourers to different cities. We had observed this throughout our work in 2020. In Spite of job losses, severe difficulties in bearing educational cost of children, purchasing sanitation equipment etc. the people of Sundarbans had a basic ration requirement satisfied from their local food crop produce. The flooding has now destroyed this security of local produce, added together with mass scale unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic & lockdown the situation is extremely dire.”
Q: What kind of relief are you urgently looking to provide?
SKI: “Immediately, we are looking to provide relief in two phases: 1) Immediate relief: dry ration, ration kits, tarpaulin sheets, water purification solutions, sanitary napkins, medicines etc. We aim to reach around one lakh beneficiaries by the end of this campaign through various distributions based on ground mapping (we reached around 60,000 in 2020 during Amphan as highlighted in our impact report) 2) Long term relief – independent desalination efforts of ponds and agricultural fields, escalation with local administration via a team of lawyers, media etc. of larger structural issues to adopt more preventive measures/address long term solutions, opening up more schools cum relief centres which serve as permanent units in a space where education has been closed off for the last 1.5 years post lockdown, where online education isn’t even imaginable.”
Q: What relief are you currently providing?
SKI:“Community kitchens are running in two locations associated with two schools. Water purification solutions & dry rations are being separately distributed. “
Q: How much money does it cost to serve an individual or a family, how much can people donate?
SKI:“Whole Kit: Ration Kit, Tarpaulin Sheet, Basic Medicine, Water Purification Solutions & Sanitary Napkins: Rs. 800-1000 (Family of 4)
Community Kitchen: Roughly Rs. 70-90 per person for two meals a day.”
Their Impact Report may be accessed here: Here