The Optimist Citizen

How young volunteers are striving to feed 120000 victims, 30000 children and setting up medical camps in 60 villages

The Kerala Floods of 2018 might be one of the worst natural catastrophes that India might have seen in recent history. The central government declared it as a ‘calamity of severe nature’. But, only data can express the true severity of this nature’s wrath. Around 400 deaths have been witnessed and a total of 6,33,010 people are staying in 2,971 relief camps. Shocking as it might be, the numbers denote the true scenario in a catastrophe’s heart. But, beyond these apprehending numbers and their horrific outcomes, lie the strength and conviction of people from across the globe who have stepped up and jumped in to support the relief program that has seen thousands being rescued and supported in almost a divine fashion.

Image courtesy: Indian Express
Image courtesy: Indian Express

One such effort comes from a young team of volunteers and workers from Rapid Response, India’s first disaster relief NGO. Founded by Mohamad Farukh in 2013, Rapid Response has participated in the relief work of all major natural calamities that have happened since then in the country. Be it the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 or Tamil Nadu drought of 2016, Rapid response’s presence was expected and documented. They have developed the ability to respond to any major natural disaster within 24 hours of its occurrence.

Rapid Response volunteers in rescue efforts in Kerala | Image courtesy: Rapid Response
Rapid Response volunteers in rescue efforts in Kerala | Image courtesy: Rapid Response

The team of Rapid Response was one of the first teams to reach the flood-affected areas and are helping in every way they can. The situation became critical when two days’ back Kerala had the heaviest rainfall in its history, making it impossible to export supplies from neighbouring states. Due to this, the volunteers had to urge the people to open the shops and use the local supplies. The current situation is better now with the rainfall finally receding and the supplies coming in from all over the country. Rapid Response has also been able to collect over Rupees 61 lakh worth of supplies for the people of Kerala but they still have a wide requirement. They have several medical camps set up across the state and have a warehouse in Thrissur where citizens all across the country can donate supplies.


Rapid Response is working with an aim that will not only help the people of Kerala survive this crisis but also get back to their normal lives once the water has receded. The NGO plans to stay another six months after the flood so that they can help people, especially the ones with financial impediments in their lives, to get back on their feet. They plan to help the citizens get back their common source of income like in the case of fisherman where they aim to donate basic objects like fishnets, a boat and all things necessary for them to get their lives back. They are trying to 1,20,000 food packets, 30,000 Milk & Biscuits Kit and conduct 60 medical camps in the worst affected areas of Kerala.

Rapid Response volunteers distributing aid to flood victims | Image courtesy: Rapid Response
Rapid Response volunteers distributing aid to flood victims | Image courtesy: Rapid Response

To make this happen, the NGO will need the help of every citizen from every corner of our geography. The founder, Mohamad Farukh, urges the nation to step forward and help its fellow brothers and sisters and not just wait for the government officials to do so. He also wishes for people to donate fresh goods and not used ones, because even in a disaster, dignity is an aspect that helps one’s life worth living. You can contribute for the campaign here and help a brethren and state in crisis!


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