Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Covering Wayanad medically. Day 1 at Thavinjal.

The PN Panicker Foundation's medical camp at Wayanad has been scheduled from 19 - 21 Sep. Why so late, you might ask. A very valid question and here's the answer. There have been very many well meaning philanthropists and the government agencies that have been doing yeoman service in this regard, ever since the deluge that had destroyed everything for a very large percentage of the population - Wayanad has approximately, 28 lakhs!

Maman and Saji Kumar (A financial expert, still with the government and who has a flair for social work has taken three days off to be with us!) had started from Thiruvananthapuram around 1800 hrs, yesterday. They'd picked up medicines @ Rs.4.5 lakhs, from Ernakulam, before reaching around 0200 hrs at 'The Quarterdeck' to pick me up according to the plan that we'd chalked out before. The hired Innova was heavily loaded with the medicines to be distributed and its driver, Rajesh - damn good at his work and ever smiling, with a single ear stud as decoration - worked out a few permutations and combinations before tucking my bag and lap top into the vehicle's innards!

Leaving Lekha, by herself, adds on worries but I try not to dwell upon it much because it can create tensions within. I'm glad that her immunity is in good mettle because it was me who'd ended up with a bad cough and cold consequent to the twin outdoors that we did over the last ten days.

The 268 odd kms were transited through, very expertly, by Rajesh despite the fact that, at many places, the highway was in a very bad state thanks to the recent deluge. We passed through Kunnamkulam, Pattambi, Perinthalmanna, Manjeri and Areacode, during the silent hours and reached Thamarasserry just short of first light. After a cup of piping hot tea at a wayside tea stall, we started the climb up the ghats passing through the nine hairpin bends and the single-lane-stretch-of the highway thanks to the collapse that it had suffered due to the recent land slide. The devastation  caused by the floods were visible all through the route as broken buildings and destroyed agricultural land stared at us, being the grim reminder of a calamity of unimaginable proportions.

We reached the Forest Inspection Bungalow by about a quarter to 8 and Suren, the efficient guy that he is, gave us a round of good tea, fixed an errant motor that fed the water from the well into the overhead tank and a well made breakfast of idlis, dosas and vadas. We were at the venue of the medical camp - the Thavinjal Civil station - by a half past 10. After a brief meeting to explain the conduct of the camp, the people were registered for the medical check up. A team of doctors from the local pool and the district's branch of the National Health Mission, examined each patient and provided the requisite medicines. The cardiologist from Lucknow, Dr. Pankaj Srivastava and his brother, Rajiv, the electronics engineer had fetched up by 12 o'clock as the flight from Lucknow to Bangalore had touched down late! They drove all the way from there in a car, damn sweet of them!

During our interaction with the people, the following were discernible:-

   (a) The people had, long back, shed their outlook of despair and grief arising out of the difficulties
         caused by the deluge. In fact, what received us were their cheerful, smiling faces.
   (b) The civil administration had reacted to the emergency with alacrity, provided timely succour
         that was followed by the soothing visits of many relief and medical camps.
   (c) The outbreak of illnesses, post floods, was contained effectively by preventive medical
         practices drilled into them by the health workers.
   (d) The helpful attitude and compassion showed to people in distress, cutting through caste, creed
         religion and political affiliation!

There were 153 people who went through the medical examination of our team but to confess my very personal thoughts, I found it to be a bit under subscribed! Arjun George and his family had left no stone unturned in their efforts at co-ordinating things for us. I shall never forget the beaming faces that had received blankets from us, sponsored by the Janus Initiatives, Lucknow.


We could salvage five boxes of medicines, left at the Inspection Bungalow, by a team that had come from Gujarat, just last week to conduct a medical camp. Similarly, there's plenty of relief material that are coming from various quarters and it's my fond hope that each and every bit of it reaches the needy and is completely utilised!   

No comments:

Post a Comment