Impressive Kerala flood relief efforts by Kerala HC Advocates' Association
Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala, India, August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V
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Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association has come forward in coordinating rescue and relief efforts to help Kerala flood victims. The state was hit with an unprecedented flood situation with death toll risen up to 357 and 58,506 people being rescued until Saturday, August 20th. In one of the worst floods the state had seen in the last 100 years heavy monsoon rains have completely inundated 10,000 kilometres of roadways and destroyed about 3,00,000 homes. People were isolated and stranded in the worst affected areas of Pathanamthitta and Chengannur. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he is grateful for the Centre’s “helpful” efforts towards flood relief in his state and added, “We have incurred a loss of Rs 19,512 crore and sought Rs 2,000 crore. The Centre has promised Rs 600 crore so far.” Prime minister Narendra Modi had announced an initial relief package of Rs. 500 crore for the victims.

Relief efforts by Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association

In this dire situation, the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association had shown a spirited effort of coordination and good intent to work side by side with other rescue services in helping flood victims. They have mainly concentrated their efforts in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. The senior lawyers and their junior counterparts have worked hand-in-hand in maintaining the rescue effort. A crisis management and collection centre was set up where they were collecting the necessary food items, medicines, baby foods, clothes, sanitary products, blankets and bed sheets according to the requirements of the 50 camps set up to accommodate flood victims of the Ernakulam district of Kerala.

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The Centre set up by Advocates’ Association on Friday, August 17, 2018 has been working non-stop the last five days. The collected materials are being transferred to the different campsites by the lawyers in their private vehicles. The Association lawyers had also managed to rescue stranded victims from the affected Moolampally area to safety. The young lawyers were working all hours on Saturday and Sunday to help in the relief efforts. They also managed to unload two truckloads of drinking water and distribute them to the victims at the campsites. Besides food, medicines, clothes and drinking water the Association had supplied phenyl, cleaning solutions to people whose houses were affected by mud and slurry after the flood water has receded.

Association President Advocate V Ramkumar Nambiar has declared in the Association meeting that beside necessary collectable items for flood relief they have also managed to collect cash of about 6,000,000 rupees which they will also donate for Kerala flood relief efforts. Secretary of the Association, Advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor suggested that with the receding flood water the Association should now start focussing their efforts in helping in the rehabilitation of the victims which was also seconded by others.

Support from Judiciary

The judges of the Kerala High Court also supported the Association’s efforts in Kerala flood relief by constantly encouraging the members and interacting with the relief workers. Justice Devan Ramachandran was quite impressed with the Association’s efforts and stated, “this is the true face of our profession” in his write-up in Live Law. Justices Raja Vijayaraghavan and A K Jayasankaran Nambiar reached Munambam relief camp on August 19th to distribute relief materials to the victims.

Besides the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association the other Bar Associations of the state such as Kottayam District Legal Services Authority had started a kitchen facility in their compound to help supply food for flood victims. The young lawyers of the Kottayam District managed the cooking and food distribution in their area. Trichur Bar Association donated money to relief funds and organised relief efforts in Thrissur district.

Legal professionals to the common man: Kerala flood victims

Impressive Kerala flood relief efforts by Kerala HC Advocates' Association
Images from Kerala Floods. Photo Src: IndianExpress

Legal stalwarts from all over the country have stepped up to help Kerala flood victims besides the local and state Bar Associations. Attorney General of India, KK Venugopal had donated 1 crore rupees to Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund while his son Advocate Krishnan Venugopal had donated an additional 1,500,000 rupees to the same. Advocate Jaydeep Gupta has donated 1,000,000 rupees and senior lawyer C U Singh has donated 5,00,000 rupees. Delhi lawyers have collected relief materials and sent to Kerala. Supreme Court judges have also pledged their help towards the flood victims. All over the country, the positive response from the common man to lawyers and judges from different parts of the country has shown how in times of darkness and crisis people from all walks of life come together in a true spirit of solidarity and relentless focus on helping the underprivileged victims of natural disasters. The resilience and strength shown by our legal brethren in this part of the country are unparalleled in efforts and laudable for their intent. To support in the relief efforts young lawyers and senior advocates is working tirelessly day and night to supply relief and assistance to victims traversing inundated roads, braving landslides and heavy downpours which have shown again the humane side of the law.

Stay tuned for more updates from Kerala High Court.

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