Andhra Pradesh – like so many other Indian states – is constantly threatened by natural disasters. Typhoons batter its coast on the Bay of Bengal, heavy monsoon rains often engender catastrophic floods, the recurrent summer heat waves kill hundreds in massive fire outbreaks, and failed monsoons prevent the cultivation of most crops and deprive thousands of families of their livelihoods. The poor and the weak are most vulnerable to these natural calamities. In 1977, 50,000 lives were swept away by one of the most powerful typhoons to hit the Indian subcontinent; more recently, cyclones killed 2000 people in 1996 and 1000 people in 2005. Every year, the sweltering heat claims between 1000 and 1500 lives.
When disaster strikes the area, Care&Share is always on the front lines of emergency relief operations. We offer food and medical treatment, help families rebuild their homes, and provide them with the means to restart their businesses. In 2005 alone, we had to cope with two disasters of truly dramatic proportions. First, the tsunami ravaged the Andhra coast, killing hundreds. Then, during the summer rising flood waters left 100,000 people homeless throughout the state. Under these circumstances, Care&Share always adopts an “act first, think second” approach. In both cases, we rushed to help those in need – who had lost everything in one brief, fateful moment – whether or not we had the funds to do so.