So yesterday was a bit of an unproductive day for me and Mum. We went to Angoda, IDH and Wellampitiya areas and while the water levels seem to be chilling while they are at it, so at the moment, there isn’t a lot that anyone can do. In a modified statement inspired by Dickens,
It wasn’t the best of day, it wasn’t the worst of days, ‘twas a meh day.
For most of the part, the day was unproductive. Given that we are not directly involved in the gathering of rations etc, there wasn’t a lot that we could do.
It was frustrating. Walking up and down, trying to be of help, but often being mistaken for the “tourists” from yesterday, because yes we may have broken a laugh there or giggled a bit over here while navigating our way through the crowds. Let’s also casually throw in there about how these tourists casually pick up rations and food meant for victims – but I guess that’s okay because of the excess supply we have to deal with (read below).
Continuing on the frustration, I for one felt really hopeless because I couldn’t physically do anything. However, after coming home, tired and disappointed I realised that I was good with co-ordinating things, keeping track of stuff and making endless lists, so that’s exactly where I put my skills to use.
Rescues are still going on. People are still being trapped wanting to come out but let’s spend a while talking about those still in their houses.
No, I cannot empathise with your cause, I agree and hence it might not be my place to comment. But I will anyway. Do you realise that so many people are still sending out cooked food water and rations for you and boats and 4×4 are extremely expensive to maintain and operate? Yes, we should not look at things like money at times like this but if I were honest, we are a poor country and most people don’t have a lot to give, which is why some of us are offering labour, skills for post-flood.
While your possessions are important, you should also realise that if everyone was in a common area or base camp, if not with their own friends and relatives, the security personnel and relief teams can successfully conduct their operations and set some order to this chaos.
But no, you decided to stay in your house. Sorry not sorry but this makes me really angry. There is also a deep concern for the rise in water-borne and other diseases but clearly we are not worrying about that are we.
*This is not applicable to those in camp sites surrounded by water.
For those Still Eager to Volunteer
If you are still desperately trying to get involved though, do go through Facebook for about an hour and there will be people who need help with packing goods and all.
Also if you have the means, take goods and set out to Colombo to Puttlam or Kilinochchi.
Other ideas include trying to find contacts, make deals and proposals with those supplying mineral water and other products for post-flood. Currently I am told that supermarkets being sold out and it would be good to have these numbers to give it those with means.
STOP GIVING FOOD
In the areas we were there yesterday, a lot of food is going to waste because people are just pouring in with it. Here are a few things that we observed:
- There is an excess of food. Yes, everyone wants to help but this is just crazy.
- Food is usually cooked in the morning hours and sent for distribution towards afternoon and chances of food getting piled up, is high. Mum saw a little mountain of it.
- If you are still eager and adamant to give food, kindly ask volunteers if you could prepare meals for them.
- Another point to note if you are providing cooked food, do not wrap it when it is too warm and keep in mind what you are adding in there too. Not to sound fussy but those who cook would know that food like salmon, raw coconut (for pol sambol) and coconut milk causing food to go pretty bad quick.
- Continuing on the excess of food, we are told (specifically in the areas we were at) that people are now refusing to eat and keep throwing away half-eaten packets due to the monotony of it. An excess of supply results in these things like fussy eaters, it seems, even in times of crisis.
- Which brings to my final point, waste. There are no proper waste collection methods in place, animal rights advocates are asking for people to bring them to the animal shelters and realistic-tree-huggers like myself think that we should throw it in a biogas unit or compost bin. Whatever floats your boat, but please do not litter.
- Please read this if you have the time, it’s something that we can all learn from the Nepal Earthquake and how to go about rescue, relief and aid.
- Two points after my final point, let’s not forget that it’s Vesak.
I spoke on this yesterday as well, but Mum and I putting together and I’m going to casually keep plugging this in over here. We are putting together a very small but realistic plan that will hopefully help those living in a small area. We know our means and are well aware of our capacities and hence are narrowing it down smaller places just so we could do an effective job there as opposed to a simple general sweep.
For those curious on floods in general and are still not convinced, I urge you all to read this.
Please stay safe and well. The sun is almost upon us.