Kashmiri hearts beat for Kerala

Affan Yesvi

The trending hashtag in Kashmir in the second half of August was #KashmirForKerala. University and college students, civil society groups, plush restaurants in the capital city — diverse groups got busy sending relief material to the flood-stricken state.

‘Kerala flood relief camp at Kashmir University. No cash donations. Only emergency relief material accepted. Pls spread’ read a banner. Students garnered support on social media for the cause, and their efforts yielded results.

Having grappled with the most horrfic flood in decades in 2014, Kashmiris responded to the Kerala flood with empathy. Civil society groups collected several boxes of relief material, like ready-to-eat food packets with a long shelflife and medicines.

A special personal touch was the inclusion of Kashmiri apples. The new crop had started coming into the market and was packed with care in orchards and warehouses to ensure that they remain fresh.

A private airline service supported the efforts of Kashmiri NGOs in transporting the relief material.

Chai Jaai’, a popular tea-room on the Jhelum, came up with the novel idea to host a dinner with Malayali food items to raise funds. The menu for dinner on August 25 was curated by a Kashmiri chef, taking a good degree of research, planning and sourcing to put it together.

Charitable organisations stepped in for relief, reminded of the sufferings their own people went through in 2014. The Athrout Trust had reached out to Kashmiris through social media to contribute money for sending emergency kits. The trust put together relief material like baby food, mineral water and sanitary napkins. A major component of the packages was face masks to provide protection against liquid and airborne particles which cause infection.

Members of the trust said they had witnessed how the shortage of baby food, clean water and sanitary napkins had become a major cause of concern among flood victims in Kashmir. As flood water recedes and leaves behind piles of damp debris, the chances of water and airborne diseases is high. As a result, it was essential to pack face masks.

Staff of J&K Bank decided to contribute Rs 11 crore. The chairman and CEO said he would contribute his two-month salary and the staff decided to help the victims by donating their six days’ salary.

The state government announced an assistance of Rs 2 crore for supporting the flood relief efforts in Kerala. It is heartening that in a crisis of this magnitude, people, cutting across all barriers, opened their hearts as one.

Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com

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