BOSTON—New England Malayalee Association, a non-profit organization known as NEMA, reached its goal of raising $50,000 to help the victims of devastating Kerala floods. In addition, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared September 29th as Kerala Day to bring awareness about the disaster Kerala has gone through and encourage all Massachusetts residents to join the Indian-American community to support Kerala’s recovery.
The state of Kerala was battered by torrential rains in August which lead to devastating flooding, which claimed around 400 lives and displaced about 800,000 people. The costs of the disaster are estimated to be around $4 billion. The state is now going through the recovery process. Government of Kerala with the help from NGO’s and other organizations is in the process of rebuilding.
In order to create awareness towards the dire situation in Kerala, NEMA requested Gov. Baker to have a day dedicated to the state of Kerala and the governor obliged.
“On behalf of all Indian-Americans in New England, NEMA whole heartedly thanks the governor and his staff for their support,” NEMA said in a statement.
NEMA had also set a goal of rising $50,000 for the flood victims and achieved that goal as well. NEMA also cancelled its annual Onam celebrations, which was scheduled to be held on Aug. 25, in order to focus on the fundraising and help fellow Keralites in India.
NEMA, which brings together Keralites from the New England area, initially started fundraising through Facebook. In addition to individual donations, support came in from India Association of Greater Boston, Shivalaya Temple, Acton Essence of India and Natick Eid-Ul-Fana event organizers to conduct live fund raisers. Organizations such as Manitha Neyum Trust, Desai Foundation, Madras Grill Chelmsford, Udupi Restaurant Nashua, and Orissa Association made direct donations. Other Indian-American associations in the region such as ISW, TAGB, TMM, IANH, Rhode Island Indian association joined hands in promoting fundraiser via their web and social media platforms.
“Altogether, NEMA raised a total of $50k towards Kerala Flood relief and recovery,” NEMA statement said. “NEMA representatives met with the Chief Minister of Kerala who was visiting New York and made a pledge to transfer funds to CM’s disaster recovery and relief fund at the earliest.”
NEMA said that rebuild phase for Kerala will be a long and expensive process. NEMA has decided to continue to support the rebuild phase and has a formed a task force to identify direct impact projects over the next several months.
“This will be an ongoing effort as we know that requirements and recovery processes will evolve and will require help forever more in the coming months,” NEMA said.