Approximately 33 crore people in India were affected by the drought in 2016; the country reeled from severe water shortages and desperate poor farmers suffered crop losses. The year saw the worst drought in 100 years. The State of Maharashtra faced severe drought, with around 28,000 villages affected, where Marathwada region was the worst affected. The villages in this region not only faced acute scarcity of drinking water, but the entire agro-economics was completely devastated. The sight of women and young children walking long distances for water was the hard reality. High temperatures resulted in scores of deaths from heatstroke. With no water supply, the farmers in the area were unable to grow crop, rendering them jobless. Hundreds of farmers took their own lives unable to cope up with these extreme realities! This severe situation resulted in ecological damage also as animals and birds faced tough times, where several animals were sold by farmers to slaughter-houses due to lack of agricultural activity.
We provided immediate as well as long term relief in the drought affected areas. A team of our volunteers visited the Marathwada areas of Amalner, Aurangabad, Beed, Dhule, Jalna and Latur to offer service and spend quality time with those who were not just financially and physically affected, but also emotionally devastated.
Immediate Relief included:
- Providing drinking water
- Providing food and grains in remote villages
- Setting up 2 ‘fodder camps', water and fodder for livestock
- Financial support to many animal shelters that were overburdened with the influx of animals
- Providing employment to the unemployed villagers through water harvesting construction projects
Long Term Relief projects included:
- Desilting of a river, 2 channels and 3 ponds
- Setting up 20 bore-wells with electric motors in 20 villages
- Setting up permanent water tanks in 10 villages
- Widening and deepening of nullahs to enhance ground water recharge