PFI running massive relief operations in flood-hit South India

By News Desk,

New Delhi: Soon after the devastating flood hit districts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Popular Front of India, one of the largest organizations in South India, sent its cadres to affected areas for rescue and relief operations. PFI teams concentrated on Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh), Bijapur, Raichur and Bagalkot (Karnataka) as they were worst affected districts. During rescue operation, a PFI worker lost his life in Kurnool district but operations remained unaffected.

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A flood relief report by K.M. Shareef, General Secretary, PFI:

In the recent floods that struck North Karnataka and part of Andhra Pradesh there were large-scale devastation and loss to life and property. The main problems in these areas were incessant rains and swelling of local rivers. Nature’s fury was at its worst leaving several dead, homeless and hopeless.

In such a situation Popular Front of India, which boasts of a strong and disciplined cadre, rose to the occasion to wipe the tears of the lesser fortunate people. Though several districts were affected, the Popular Front of India State Executive Committee shortlisted Kurnool (in Andhra Pradesh), Bijapur, Raichur and Bagalkot as the worst affected areas.


Reports reached that about 80% of Kurnool town was submerged in water. Popular Front of India has a very strong cadre presence in and around Kurnool. Cadre from Nandyal, Vizag, Hyderabad and other smaller towns were immediately summoned to Kurnool to assist in rescue operations. Several residents were marooned in the upper floors of their own homes while trying to escape the rising water levels. Hundreds of people were assisted to safer grounds and provided immediate nourishment as they were hungry and had not eaten for more than 36 hours that they had spent on their open terraces getting wet in the rain. Our volunteer selflessly putting their life at risk rescued people from their flooded houses with the help of dows and crude boats to safer areas and women and children were accommodated in a temporary camp at station Masjid. About 450 Women were stayed there about 4 to 5 days.

During the rescue operations one of the cadre of Popular Front of India – Brother Salahuddin (50) – went missing. Two days later his body was recovered. He had attained martyrdom trying to save other people. When his body was discovered he was still in the Popular Front of India T-Shirt that was provided to all its cadre to identify and co-ordinate between themselves. We pray that Allah may accept his sacrifice and grant him a high pedestal when he is risen up once again on the Day of Judgment.

Once the water level began to subside and the roads leading to Kurnool from Karnataka were operational once again, the district president of Kurnool requested for more manpower to be sent to Kurnool from Karnataka. Their primary job was clearly defined as cleaning up houses which were layered with thick silt which had overflowed from the river beds and preparation of food. Many cadres of Popular Front of India from Karnataka were summoned to answer this call for help and were equipped with safety gear required for this cleanup operation. Gumboots, Gloves, water-proof jackets, water-proof bottoms and caps were purchased in large numbers and adorned on these volunteers. For their health and medical safety they were provided with surgical face masks that will protect them from common infections that can break out in such regions in its aftermath.

Different teams were made with an Incharge

1. Cooking: A team of 35 volunteers were delegated with the task of preparing food daily 800kg of rice is cooked to serve 8000 – 9000 people till now.

2. Food Distribution: 10 teams consisting 8 – 10 volunteers is distributing food house to house.

3. Cleaning: 10 teams of 8 – 10 volunteers have been cleaning places such as Houses, markets, places of worship, schools and streets which is filled with silt.

4. Medical Camp: Team of two incharges and 20 volunteers and 6 Doctors have been treating people. So far 1500 patients were treated.

5. PRO Team: To coordinate social organization, and donors and NGOs.

6. Store: Taj Function hall is used as storage where ration, clothing etc. have been stored.

7. Media: Team is providing day to day information to the print and electronic media.

The district president of Kurnool requested that common medicines required for establishing and operating a medical camp also be provided. The volunteers of Popular Front of India visited several medical shops in Bangalore and distributors and collected their contributions in kind. Noteworthy here is one of the biggest distributor of medicines in Bangalore – M/s. Mohan and Co. themselves donated medicines worth more than Rs. 50,000/- and this was appended by another Rs. 20,000/- worth medicines from Popular Front of India, purchased from the same distributor at wholesale prices.

Equipped with safety gear, medicinal arsenal and a deep rooted desire to serve tragedy struck human beings, the 250 strong cadre left from Bangalore and its neighboring districts like – Mysore, Mandya, Kolar, Hassan, Chamrajnagar and Tumkur. They were told that they would have to stay for about a week and reinforce the strength of hundreds of cadre, who had already converged in Kurnool.

With willingness and aware of the risks that they were to face in such a region they set out on Tuesday (6TH Oct, 2009) night. On arrival they were able to give a little rest to the others who were exhausted and win the accolades of the locals. They were given a warm welcome by the locals (in spite of their broken spirits and despair). True to their intention the entire team of Popular Front of India exerted their complete self in clearing up the mess that was left behind and the report received on Thursday night indicates that their job will be complete in another 2-3 days. They had cleared up 16 of the 40 Masjids that were rendered un-usable by the silt accumulation in them.

The other activities that were undertaken in this location was setting up of local medical camps to detect and prevent the outbreak of epidemics. Local doctors from the region under the supervision of 1 of the doctor from Popular Front of India, arranged this camp very effortlessly and to this day continues to manage it.

Food grains were being received from surrounding areas in large quantities, but there was severe shortage of facilities and willpower among the locals who were in no mood to cook and eat their meals. Popular Front of India recognized this as a need of the hour. If the people do not eat, they will fall prey to infections and may lose their desire to survive.

Food camps were setup accumulating the food grains donated by local philanthropists from surrounding regions. Popular Front of India cadre cooked basic meals and fed people and on the day that this report is being created (Thursday 8TH Oct 2009) they had fed 8000 people on the previous day.

Casualties reported so far are only one member of Popular Front of India who has fractured his hand cleaning up the silt.


Senior members from Popular Front of India had left for Bijapur on Monday to ascertain the situation and organize the local cadre of Popular Front of India in Bijapur to undertake relief operations. After scouting the entire region they identified that the devastation was not so bad and only a small area was affected (and it was hit quite bad). But due to most of the other regions escaping the fury this tiny area was also limping back to normalcy quite fast and required minimal help in terms of work force.

It was decided by the visiting committee that relief work should be in the form of distribution of relief material. So they surveyed the area and identified the quantities and requirements of relief that should be made available. They then spoke to local donors and backed with a sanctioned amount of Rs.65,000/- from Popular Front of India state executive committee were able to prepare about 250 Flood Relief Kits. Each flood relief kit consists of 10Kgs of rice, cereals, dal, oil and basic spices. Along with this kit a blanket to combat the cold was given to large number of people besides another 250 blankets that were given to poor people who lived on footpaths and roadsides and made a life by begging for alms.


On the second day of flood, a team comprising of 8 members was sent to Bellary to survey and identify the highly flood affected areas. The team met the Siraguppa town local administration bodies and local leaders to identify the most affected areas. Villages which are more than 65 km interior to the main town of Bellary were also surveyed by the team. It was noticed that where most of the Government aid is reaching the easily accessible town, the remote villages like Metur, Bagodi, Honnatahalli and Koodudaral are almost ignored. Another serious concern that was identified by the team was the symptoms of epidemic like situation created due to the dead bodies of the dead animal which were still not moved. Some of the villages were still not visited by the Govt. authorities.

After the teams survey of Popular Front cadres was dispatched to the affected areas. The teams have started working under different department and reaching out to the flood victims.

The relief activities will continue till the affected people are rehabilited with the required basic needs. The other State units of Popular Front like Kerala and Tamil Nadu who are experienced in relief work including the large scale Tsunami relief have been summoned to prepare team and dispatch them when ordered. Few experienced cadres from Tamil Nadu will also reach the affected areas to provide the guidance to the Karnataka cadres in relief activities.

A report of the relief activities will be periodically updated and sent to the media. We would like to appeal the media and masses to join and support us in our nobleefforts.

Relief team contact details

Relief Activity General Convener: Elyas Thumbay 09740935478

Kurnool AP: Moulana Kaleemullah 09731791861

Bellary and Raichur: Shareef Kodaje 09900869977

Bijapur: Ismail Katpady 09844629229

Gulbarga: Firoze Ali 09845801998