Take part in online quiz, help Bihar’s flood victims

September 18th, 2008 - 12:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) It’s an online quiz in which you face the questions but the real winners are Bihar’s flood-hit people. For every right answer, they get candles, biscuits, tarpaulin sheets and more - items that could prove crucial to their survival.Plan India, a Delhi-based development organisation, has started the online campaign in which net users can log on to a website www.helpbihar.in and answer four simple questions - the name of Bihar’s capital, the river that has flooded the state, the estimated number of flood-affected people and the opposite of the word flood.

“The campaign was started a week ago and we have already received nearly 50,000 hits from the Internet users. We expect the number to grow faster,” Bhagyashri Dengle, executive director of Plan India, which has been working for the last 30 years across 12 states in India, told IANS.

The material that will be donated against right answers includes torches, candles, biscuits, soaps, milk powder, matchboxes, chlorine tablets, nylon ropes and tarpaulin sheets. These could be of enormous help in beating back the enormous calamity that has hit the flood-stricken in Bihar in the past month.

The organisation has got corporate sponsorship for some of the articles while the rest of the articles will be arranged through the organisation’s internal resources.

It has got sponsors for biscuits, soaps and candles in the form of Chevrolet and Godrej.

By Wednesday, the number of donated candles was 135,103, soaps 227,682, and biscuit packets 83,301.

“We approached Chevrolet and Godrej and they instantly agreed. Parmeshwar Godrej was the one who reacted very fast to our proposal,” Dengle added.

She said: “We are already in touch with a number of corporates such as HSBC and the Citi group regarding our campaign. We are also trying to raise funds from other companies.”

The organisation is distributing the relief material with the help of their branch in Patna and several other people and organisations involved in flood relief work in the state.

“The first consignment of the relief material has already been sent and very soon another consignment would be sent to the state,” she added.

The campaign would continue for several months in three phases.

In Phase 1, which has already been initiated, Plan India will work to meet the basic needs of those affected. This includes the setting up of child protection committees, provision of cooked food for a week and then dry rations for a month, tarpaulin sheets for shelter and the supply of bleaching powder and halogen tablets.

Phase 2 will include the construction of temporary toilets, distribution of hygiene and family kits (includes soaps, clothes, bucket, candles, slippers, and oil) and the identification of reconstruction needs.

Phase 3 will be initiated and implemented from the third month onwards and mainly include designing an intervention plan around the reconstruction of livelihoods of affected people.

Dengle said: “The tragedy has not evoked the reaction similar to what was witnessed during tsunami. However, the damage caused by the Bihar floods is much more compared to the tsunami.”

Shompa Mohanty, media coordinator, Plan India, said: “We brainstormed and finally zeroed in on the idea of starting an online campaign because there is a huge number of net users and it would be easy to mobilise them.”

Richa, who donated through the website, said: “This is a unique concept. It is very easy for those who want to donate but are not able to do that because of lack of either time or money.”

It has been a month since the Kosi river breached its embankment and swamped hundreds of villages, affecting over 3.24 million people and killing at least 60 people.

Bihar’s agriculture department has estimated that standing crops in 175,000 hectares of land have been destroyed in Madhepura, Supaul, Saharsa, Araria and Purnea districts.

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