India (MNN) – The most effective disaster relief is ready to go even before disaster hits. This is the thinking behind India Partner’s Disaster Relief Fund. With a network of partners on the ground and resources ready to go, they are ready to respond almost immediately.
Donna Glass of India Partners draws up a story from 2004 when a 9.1 magnitude earthquake hit, causing over 230,000 deaths in 14 different countries. The earthquake generated a massive tsunami. Glass says, “Because our partners were there, within an hour of the tsunami hitting the shores, we were there with relief. We were there with supplies. We were there to help people deal with the counseling as well as the immediate physical needs.”
When this family lost their home in a fire, India Partners was able to step in and help.(Photo courtesy of India Partners)
The thing about disasters is this—you usually cannot predict them, and even when you can, it’s hard to know just how much of a disaster they will be. In India, disasters range from natural and seasonal events to more unpredictable things like fires. India Partners has been able to step into all sorts of situations.
Glass says, “Disaster relief will vary depending on what the disaster is. You never know what kind of disaster is going to hit. I mean, as we have seen, just recently, with the earthquakes in Mexico, the numerous hurricanes that have hit Texas and Florida and the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.”
India’s vast landscape experiences the ravages of drought in some areas while others are absolutely inundated with monsoon rains.
Glass says, “There [have] been droughts going on in parts of India for years. When there’s drought situations… there’s a good chance even if you had a well in the village, the water would have dried up.”
In cases of drought or even contaminated water sources, India Partners helps by bringing water tankers into remote villages or, when possible, drilling new wells.
But on the other side of the spectrum, Glass says, “The monsoon season is just ending and the monsoons have been exceptionally bad in Bangladesh and Nepal and North India.”
The monsoons even impacted the large city of Mumbai “where schools were actually closed for days because the streets were so flooded in a city of over 20 million people.”
The rains have also impacted parts of Andhra Pradesh where India Partners works.
“When [the rains] happen, it wipes out roads and so remote villages are completely cut off. And once the water recedes, the people’s livelihoods have been wiped out. They’ve lost their crops, they’ve lost their animals, they’ve lost their thatched or mud homes. Everything’s been swept away.”
India Partners has been able to hit the ground running with immediate relief like food, shelter, and clean water.
This year, India Partners dealt with a number of fires. Glass says, “We do know of one case at an orphanage that fires were intentionally set around the orphanage. While the children were out, these people went in and pulled their clothing and things out of their rooms and threw them into the bushes and set the bushes on fire.”
The orphanage itself was ok, but the children lost their belongings. This included their school uniforms. Without them, they would stand out at school as children who could not afford the school uniform.
“To lose what little they had put them into tears,” Glass says.
Because of the Disaster Relief Fund, India Partners was able to step in and supply the children with new uniforms and clothing.
When organizations like India Partners are able to respond like this, it lets people in need know that they are loved and cared for—that they aren’t on their own.
A heart for India
Last month, our globe saw many disasters that grabbed international attention. However, it seems that over and over again, disasters taking place in the western hemisphere eclipse what is happening in the developing world.
Part of the problem is compassion fatigue—there’s so much going on that it gets overwhelming. Another factor is simply that, as individuals wanting to impact our world, we have to pick a passion to focus our efforts and resources. Glass herself has fallen in love with the Indian people and so she is helping people realize how they can make a difference in India.
She says, “We cannot forget that there are people who suffer throughout the world.”
Through India Partners Gift Catalog, you can give the gift of disaster relief. This can be done in honor of a loved one, or simply as a gift to someone in need. This relief fund provides immediate supplies to help families survive disasters.
The suggested giving is $25, but financial supporters can choose to give more. If you’d like to give, click