The people living in the jhuggis ran out, barely saving their lives. Everything else was burnt down. The police came and the fire tenders were able to extinguish the fire but were not able to save anything from the jhuggis.
As told by the resident of a burnt jhuggi, there were a total of 265 jhuggies and all were burnt to the ground.
Sunshine Society went on May 28th to figure out what can be done to provide relief to the affected people. The scene was grim and the temperature was as high as 460 C, the flattened ground was still smoldering and the people had no shelter.
Amongst the sad reality, total destruction, extreme heat and defeated faces, there was a bright spark. Humanity had won and there were so many people who reached the scene immediately providing water, mobile toilets, clothes and a running food bhandara.
We were shocked by the no. of people affected by this tragedy. As per basic calculations, 265 jhuggi with 4 people per jhuggi, comes to 1060 people! We were at a loss to decide what help was to be provided ensuring it reaches all the people. We then contacted the city magistrate to understand the requirement and he gave us an approximate figure of 110 jhuggis.
One thing we understood was that humanity always wins. One message circulated over WhatsApp got us such a tremendous response that we were actually able to plan for all the affected families. Deepak Methi, member Sunshine and a resident of sector 50, donated INR 100,000 and many others contributed to set a pool of amount with which we bought 110 sets of dry ration and 110 sets of bucket, mug and basic utensils. The teams were divided: some collected in cash&cheques, some collected clothes and other utensils and Meena negotiated and got the best rates for the dry ration and bucket/utensils, while sitting in Siliguri!
June 1st, Sunshine team with VP Gupta, Madhu Mittal, Rajesh Shrivastav, Shashi Shrivastav, Archana Chaturvedi, Shaloo Mishra, Kemveer Singh, Abhay, Nitin, Babu, Sumeeta, Prem, Praveen, Manish and Vaishali distributed the sets to all the affected families, going from house to house distributing, validating and comforting the families. There were a lot of people there trying to rebuild their jhuggis but there were also a lot of people who relocated to other areas. It took us almost 5 hours to reach out to families and distribute the sets ensuring that it reaches the affected people.
There were so many other people like us who were distributing the necessities. People who had brought bananas and lassi, people who had brought pans and kadai’s, there were people who were taking turns for bhandara and so on…
The silver lining here is the overwhelming support of the people to help fellow human beings. The people there now have more than they ever had.
We still have a few sets of dry ration and buckets/utensils and people are still contributing clothes. In case anyone comes across family affected by the tragedy who would require the sets, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 9971799601.
We are living amongst great people in a great time!