Professional Indian football players Jayesh Rane and Ashutosh Mehta are helping the victims of the little discussed Mizoram floods, which have left thousands homeless.
Amongst all natural calamities, floods are the most common and the most destructive. But the real question is if this life-and-property-threatening catastrophe a natural occurrence anymore?
Areas prone to heavy rainfalls causing rivers or streams to overflow are most exposed to the possibility of a flood. However, rain is not the only impetus for a flood to occur. Us humans and our activities contribute to most of it.
With the encroachment and blockage of natural drainage channels, unplanned urbanisation, structural failures of dams, deforestation and ice caps melting due to global warming that force feed rivers in turn the vulnerability to flooding has increased.
According to a report by the India Disaster Knowledge Network (IDKN), 12 percent of land in India is considered prone to floods, with about 30 million people affected annually. An average of a few hundred lives are lost, with millions being rendered homeless and tonnes of crops damaged every year.
Blessed with the Brahmaputra river, the north-eastern states are equally susceptible to floods because of it. The river floods every year during the monsoon rains accompanied by landslides leaving towns of the seven contiguous sisters severely afflicted.
This year, Assam, Manipur and Mizoram are worst-hit, with towns completely submerged, and the death toll across the three states rising up to 14.
As a result of incessant rains lashing the State of Mizoram since June 9, life has come to a halt in the worst possible way. These large volumes of rains falling within a short time has led to flash floods and landslides on a large scale. With 12 lives lost and over 800 houses destroyed in different districts, the state currently has thousands rendered homeless.
In the light of all that's been happening, Jayesh Rane, 23, a Chennaiyin FC player, and Ashutosh Mehta, 26, a Mumbai FC player have initiated a crowdfunding campaign to save lives and provide basic necessities to the survivors.
“Although we originally are from Mumbai, as players of the Aizwal FC this state has been nothing less than a home to us. The immense love we have received is what we are trying to give back through this campaign,” says Ashutosh.
Setting an example of sticking together through tough times, both these players with no volunteers and just with the help of social media have managed to grab the attention of people all over the country.
Pointing to a grave situation in a part of our nation that would otherwise be overlooked, Gouraj Surve, the campaign manager says, “The northeast and its people are a beautiful part of our country. Sometimes they are subjected to more suffering owing to natural disasters or negligence, but today we stand together through this campaign to see how strongly the rest of India feels for its people.”
With endless rains causing water logging and many districts being cut off from the rest of the country, the people of Mizoram have been left without food, water and shelter. The floods have also damaged 137 hectares of cultivated land and 62 fish ponds.
“The moment we heard of how these floods have affected the people, we approached Ashutosh and Jayesh. They share a special relationship with the people of Mizoram. On proposing the idea of crowdfunding, they were more than happy to take part along with the rest of the players.” says Gouraj.
Ashutosh and Jayesh have reached out to their colleagues, fans and various social media platforms to gather more support. Associated with Caritas India, an NGO whose main focus of work is disaster relief, this campaign looks to expand by raising funds for others causes affecting the northeast.
Calling attention to how every penny can help save lives, the money raised will be used to buy food supplies, water to drink, blankets and other essentials to help resuscitate the rescued.