The group clashes in the Tribal District of Kandhamal in December, 2007 and in the month of Aug’ 2008, had shaken the entire District. In view of the prevalent emergent situation, a special assignment was given to the Special Relief Commissioner and Managing Director, OSDMA for taking up massive relief operations on war footing for the affected people when they were badly in need of immediate relief assistance in terms of food, shelters, clothes, and other utilities.
A Team of selected experienced officers of both SRC and OSDMA were pressed into an extraordinary mission for relief operation. ODRAF Teams were mobilized to clear the roads and assist the affected people. More than 1400 tents of various sizes were organized from different districts & from SRC’s relief godown at Bhubaneswar and dispatched to Kandhamal to provide temporary shelter to the affected people in the relief camps. The relief camps were made functional immediately to cater around 25,000 people. About 25 types of relief material like Dhoti, Saree, Sataranji, Blanket, Sweater, Lantern, Mat, Utensil, Garments both for adult and children and other essential household articles were procured within shortest possible time maintaining due transparency and ensuring proper quality of the material.
Since the delay in supply of relief materials would multiply the sufferings of the affected people, speed was the essence of the hour. Non-availability of huge quantity of required relief materials in the market, arrangement of large number of private requisitioned vehicles, observing the prescribed procedure for procurement, verification of quality of each item and timely dispatch of relief materials were some of the challenges which were surpassed due to sincere and dedicated efforts of the team members. Senior officials were deputed to the district to coordinate the relief operation and to give constant feedback about the actual requirement of the affected people in the relief camps. SRC Office at Cuttack was converted to a base camp which functioned round the clock for emergent procurement and ensuring uninterrupted dispatch of relief materials to Kandhmal.
The quality of the relief materials provided to the affected people was of high standard and due care was taken to fulfill the basic humanitarian needs of the affected people which was highly appreciated by the Hon’ble Union Home Minister during his visit to Kandhamal.
The relief operation continued for almost one year in spite of all odds and other assignments like managing severe floods that occurred in Mahanadi River system. The State Branch of Indian Red Cross Society also extended their hand to the relief operation. Unicef Orissa unit provided material support during this hour of crisis. Apart from provision of emergency supplies for the affected people, ODRAF Teams accomplished the daunting task of cleaning the roads which enabled the administration to reach the troubled areas to maintain law & order and provide humanitarian assistance to the affected people. The ODRAF Team did commendable job of setting up relief camps by pitching tents and lighting the camp premises with their inflatable tower lights. All the relief camps were provided with mini P.A (Public Address) system, Generators, adequate number of Halogen lights and Tower lights by OSDMA. The lighting arrangement was very effective in managing huge crowd inside the relief camps. The mini P.A. system was used to call the inmates for breakfast, lunch, dinner and distribution of relief materials.
An integrated relief management was accomplished by way of provision of safe drinking water, provision of medical assistance to the people in distress and above all taking of all sorts of trauma care assistance with the support of all concerned. Special provision of L.P.G. was made for cooking of food in the relief camps to avoid consumption of fuel wood. Thereby, Ecology was not disturbed. The State Government took all necessary measures for safety and security of the people accommodated in relief camps.
The mission Kandhamal Relief was accomplished with great success and appreciated from all quarters. The people sheltered in relief camps gradually returned to their homes.