Think before you donate

Chapatis go bad before reaching flood victims; old clothes unwelcome

WHAT A WASTE: A resident of Talamari burning old clothes donated for the flood victims. DH PHOTO

Chapatis have a short shelf life--about two days-- and they get putrid before reaching the needy. Used clothes are not preferred by the victims. 

The government has opened an office in Balabrooie, government guest house, in Bangalore to collect food items, clothes, medicines and housing materials. They have been getting steady flow of used clothes and chapatis.

When the government took up flood relief work, the officials were happy to receive the any types of donations. Slowly, realisation dawned on them that transportation of chapatis and used clothes were a exercise in futility.  
Officials, who did not like to be named, said, "We fail to understand why people are donating chapatis. We cannot send them back when they come and handover them. Still we are advising them not to bring them".

They also said despite requests not to send old clothes, people have been sending cartons of used clothes. Jeans trousers, T shirts and salwar-kurta are of no use to villagers. They need dhotis, sarees and towels besides other essentials which they use regularly.

 Surprisingly the government has not yet requested the public to refrain from donating chapatis or used clothes.
In some places, cloth bundles, sent to the flood-hit people, were either burnt or thrown on roadside. While touring Talamari, a village in Raichur taluk, a Deccan Herald reporter witnessed a flood victim burning a bundle of clothes.
Adam, a youth in the relief camp near Talamari, said, "Most of the clothes donated are torn. Nobody wants to wear them. If at all people wish to contribute clothes, they should send new ones".

However, he is happy that somehow he got a new T-shirt, donated by a non-governmental organisation.

Chidananda Sali, a teacher, who collected relief materials from the public in Raichur and distributed them to the flood victims, said, “As we approached people for relief materials they were eager to give old clothes. Many found this an opportunity to clear off the old stock. But we preferred to take only new clothes and utensils, which would be useful for the flood-victims.”

He pointed out that most of the flood victims were paddy growers and earned in lakhs every year. Because of the floods they are on the streets now.
Thimmappa of Talamari said "A few people came in a van and distributed chapatis. We found them spoilt. How can we eat it? "he asked.

Vested interests
Bellary Deputy Commissioner B Shivappa, when contacted, said that many NGOs had been found distributing or dumping clothes in villages.
"But the problem is that clothes are not getting equally distributed among the needy. On roadsides some vested interests are found collecting clothes and not distributing them properly. I feel that only new clothes should be given to the victims and all relief materials should be routed through the government so that all will get benefited.”
At Balabrooie, officials said that from October 5 onwards, 178 quintals of rice, 1.20 quintals of wheat, one quintal of ragi and jowar each, 1.5 quintal of tur. The best thing to donate is foodgrain or cash in the form cheque or DD, officials said

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