With the mega cyclone Vardah hitting the city of Chennai hard, the havoc caused has been disastrous. A similar cyclone, ‘HudHud’, had hit the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh two years ago, and the city of Visakhapatnam had suffered serious damage. Just like it happened with Vizag, the greenery of Chennai city has vanished, with the strong winds, blowing at a speed of 140 kmph, uprooting more than 17,000 tress in the city. On account of this, a majority of the city, including college campuses, have lost their green cover.
Students and alumni at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) came together and took up the job of restoring the greenery of their college. A team named 'Athenaeum' has been formed, comprising of the college students, and they have decided to do a campaign for raising funds on crowdfunding website Ketto. The alumni came up with a statement, "Tropical cyclone Vardah has hit Chennai hard and has uprooted almost all the trees of MIT, causing heavy loss of property and damage. Several of our students and staff have been working day and night to help clear the wreckage. It will take several years to restore what has been lost, but the sooner we start, the sooner we get there."
In an interview with The News Minute, an alumnus said, "We started the campaign four days ago. We came to know that MIT campus was in a very bad condition after the cyclone. The college comes under the government, so it does not need funding from us, but we wanted to raise the funds after seeing the condition of our college."
Naming the campaign "Restore MIT to its original glory", more than 30 alumni have come forward to start working on it after speaking to the dean of the university and acquiring his permission. The funds from Ketto are going to be utilised for clearing the debris, tree planting and reconstruction efforts. Besides this, they are also looking to collaborate with non-government organisations in order to restore trees that were damaged in the cyclone. The alumnus stated, "We are contacting non-government organisations also on how to re-treat the trees, plant new saplings and repair the property damaged. The campaign will go on till January 15, 2017, and then, we will finalise a proposal and start work from January." The estimated target fund is Rs 5 lakh for the campaign.