Association of Kerala Medical Graduates/AKMG

Our beautiful Kerala met with an unprecedented disaster recently. By early August, Kerala received close to 3 times the usual amount of rainfall resulting in over 30 dams across the state brimming with water at dangerous levels. What ensued were the worst floods of the century resulting in over 500 deaths and a million people displaced. The entire state felt the impact of this tragedy with significant damages to the infrastructure including public and private property.

The government machinery was quick to spring into action and following exemplary efforts of the people and government services we were able to contain the damage. However, despite the work of the incredible fishermen, police, army, young bureaucrats and ordinary citizens of Kerala, significant losses had already occurred. Such was the extraordinary encounter with the unstoppable power of nature.

It was clear that NGOs need to step up to bring Kerala back on her feet. AKMG was one of the leading organizations that came to the table as a partner with the Government of Kerala. We expressed our willingness to help and were provided access to the highest levels of government. AKMG teamed up with experts from around the world including representatives of WHO, UN, disaster relief experts such as GlobalMedic, IMA and many others.

Dr. Lal, TB Technical Director, PATH (Washington), flew to Kerala immediately after the flood and worked from ground zero representing AKMG for a period of 2 weeks. Through Dr. Lal we were able to connect with the Additional Chief Secretary, Mr. Rajeev Sadanandan and this immensely help us understand the most urgent needs as well as where we could make an impact.

AKMG started a fund raising campaign on two fronts. AKMG-HS collected funds from USA following an initial communication sent out to the members on social media and by email. We were informed by our contacts in Kerala that in the immediate after math of the floods, the most important need was to provide clean water to the people who are in Kuttanadu. AKMG-Canada was charged to head this project that was named ‘JeevaJalam’ or water for life project. AKMG teamed up with GlobalMedic, an international disaster relief agency that has worked in over 67 countries including India, to provide clean water filters and pumps in Kerala. GlobalMedic started its operations in Wayanadu and Idukki by providing the local villages with community point of source water pumps that can service 1000 individuals each. Over 15 such pumps were installed.
AKMG-Canada sought community help and engaged the local Mississauga Kerala Association to participate in the Jeevajalam project. This increased the awareness of AKMG’s activities among other Malayali associations and furthered the reach of our fund raising efforts. With the help of grants raised by GlobalMedic and the incredible donations made by our members, the Jeevajalam Project grew to $120,000. This helped us send a total of 850 RainFresh water filtration units from Toronto and an additional 1700 ImerPure filters from a French company based in India to Kuttanadu. Thus over 2500 households were provided these filters in Kuttanadu and 15000 people per day received water in Wayanadu and Idukki through our point of source pumps.

A word on these filters. These are high quality filters designed to be used at times of disaster and provides water at 99.99% purity (parasite and bacteria). They last for 6-12 months. We were assured that these filters will be given to the most needy and all recipients were selected based on their BPL status and location in Kainakiri panchayat, that remained cut off due to water.

Our work is not done yet. Rebuilding our beloved Kerala will take a significant amount of time and effort. AKMG-HS raised in total $100,000 USD out of which only 20,000 USD was transferred to the Jeevajalam Project. The rest of the Jeevajalam project funds came from AKMG-Canada donations and grants received by GlobalMedic. Thus AKMG has got significant mileage for the dollars. With the remaining $80,000USD we are hoping to get matching dollars and engage in an ambitous project in Kerala.

Bravo AKMG! We must all be proud of what we achieved and thank you all for opening your hearts and purses at this needy hour.

It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.

Mother Teresa

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.    

John Bunyan

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.    

Khalil Gibran

Dr. Nigil Haroon, MD, PhD, DM
Secretary, AKMG