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Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief

Akshaya Patra serving food to flood-affected people in Kerala

Akshaya Patra Flood Relief

At the moment, Kerala is reeling under its worst flood since 1924. The torrential rains and landslides that hit the state of Kerala has ravaged the entire state since 8 August 2018, submerging many cities and villages thereby crippling normal life and services. Reportedly, around 10 districts have been severely affected and the entire state has been put under high alert. While the state is receiving help from the entire nation to deal with this unprecedented crisis, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in actively in the relief work by providing cooked meals in flood-affected areas.

Know more: www.akshayapatra.org/news/akshaya-patra-distributes-food-for-people-at-kuttanad

More images from the scene: www.akshayapatra.org/photo-gallery/akshaya-patras-flood-relief-service-in-kerala

Relief work by Akshaya Patra

Location of relief work: Alleppey and Chengannur
Relief team: A team of 27 Akshaya Patra employees along with four distribution vehicles and ingredients to cook 25,000 meals had departed from Bengaluru as an immediate relief response. Everyday, additional ingredients including chapatis, drinking water are being sent from Bengaluru to support the operations at Alleppey.

Relief work updates: Akshaya Patra began serving cooked meals from 13 August 2018.

15 August 2018 – Shri S. Suhas, District Collector of Allapuzha came to visit the makeshift kitchen from where Akshaya Patra is preparing and distributing food to people.

District Collector of Allapuzha

On 18 August 2018, Akshaya Patra dispatched three trucks from Bengaluru loaded with food packets and water bottles to Kerala. The NGO dispatched:

• More than 77,000 chapatis,
730 packs of fruit bread,
10, 872 water bottles (500 ml each), and
5,400 water bottles (1 litre each).

Food loaded truck

Water bottles

20 August 2018 – Additional cooking equipment such as stoves, vegetable cutting machines along with groceries were delivered to Kerala relief team to scale up operations.

25 August 2018 – To mark the tradition of Kerala, Akshaya Patra served Onam special dishes including rice, sambar, palya, and sweet pongal.

28 August 2018 – Shri Kodikkunnil Suresh, MP, visited Akshaya Patra’s makeshift kitchen at the Narasimha Temple in Chengannur.

29 August 2018 – AIKYA volunteers have begun the cleaning up process in government schools and beaches in the flood-affected Alleppey district. AIKYA is the volunteering wing of Akshaya Patra.

Number of meals served:
Akshaya Patra is serving approximately 7,000 – 10,000 meals on a daily basis to the affected people inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is being prepared at two makeshift kitchens – Alleppey and Chengannur.

Serving the meals

So far, Akshaya Patra has served more than 2-lakh meals in the Alapuzha region.

Type of meals served: Most of the dishes are prepared in coconut oil to suit the local palate. Dishes like boiled rice and sambar, vegetable pulao, tomato rice, upma, chapati and curry are served in the affected district.

Delivery of meals: Akshaya Patra team with the help of four distribution vehicles are delivering meals to the affected people of Alapuzha.

Food delivery van

In areas where vehicles can steer through, cooked food is being delivered to people in Akshaya Patra delivery vans.

Reaching through water

The areas where the rising water level has restricted vehicle movement, food is being transported in boats.

Akshaya Patra relief center

Some people also come to the temporary kitchen arrangement to get their meals.

Status of the relief work: On-going

The feeding cost of the relief efforts amounts to Rs. 3-lakh per day. We request your generous support in helping us reach out to more survivors.

Support us: Donate to Kerala Flood Relief

Reinstating Homes and Government Schools

As the flood water is receding, Akshaya Patra has begun reinstating homes and government schools with the support of Youth Volunteers from 28 August 2018. The first batch of 25 volunteers have left for Edathua Village, Alleppey followed by another batch for Thakazhi Village with all necessary equipment’s like pressure gun, mask, gloves, safety shoes, wiper, mop, soap solution, bleaching powder etc.

Bags distribution

Akshaya Patra also intends to provide education material to children of this region. The Foundation has already received the first request from Angamaly District MLA for 6,000 school bags, 57,000 note books and 6,000 instrument boxes to distribute to the school children in the flood affected areas.

We request your kind financial support for distributing school bags, notebooks, instrument boxes, cleaning equipment and materials, and restoring school building including blackboards, electrical and other fittings. Your generous support will go a long way in bringing back flood-affected families back to their homes and children to schools.

Read about: Akshaya Patra’s relief effort in Coorg


Akshaya Patra’s Proactiveness During Natural Disasters

Whenever a place is hit by natural disasters like flood or earthquake – within the country or across the borders, Akshaya Patra is always present to provide relief to the affected-people by providing food. Here is a quick overview of Akshaya Patra’s past relief activities:

Gorakhpur Flood Relief

Activity Period: 25th August 2017 to 8th September 2017
Total Rice Based Meals Served: 84,200
Total Theplas Served: 1,92,000

Click here to know more.

Gujarat Flood Relief

Activity Period: 25th July, 2017 to 30th July, 2017
Total Theplas Served: 4,00,000
Areas Covered: Banaskantha District (North Gujarat), Kalol and Ahmedabad regions.

Click here to know more.

Chennai Flood Relief

Activity Period: 8th December 2015 to 25th December 2015
Total Rice Based Meals Served: 2,12,000

Click here to know more.

Nepal Earthquake Relief

Akshaya Patra airlifted 1,00,000 meals to earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015. It also established a centralized kitchen in June 2015 to support the affected people of the region. The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project was a joint initiative undertaken by Akshaya Patra, Jamsetji Tata Trust, and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha. The kitchen served 1.4 million meals to the affected people for 88 days. Click here to know more.

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Disaster Relief

Akshaya Patra serving food to flood-affected people in Coorg

Coorg Flood Relief Effort

The lush green hill district and one of the main tourist attractions of Karnataka, Kodagu, popularly referred to as Coorg, is in a devastating state this monsoon. The merciless rains and unprecedented landslides have wreaked havoc in the entire district claiming lives and livelihoods, destroying homes and civic amenities, swallowing villages, rendering thousands of residents homeless, and altering the landscape with newly formed meandering courses of rivers and streams.

As rescue and relief services are pouring in to help the affected people, The Akshaya Patra Foundation has also stepped in actively in the relief work by providing cooked meals to affected people in Coorg.

More images from the scene: Flood Relief Effort in Coorg

Location of relief work: Kushalnagar, Madikeri
Relief workers: A team of Akshaya Patra employees are actively involved in providing food to the people.
Period of relief work: Akshaya Patra began serving cooked meals from Monday afternoon i.e. 20 August 2018
Meals served: From two make shift kitchens in Kushalnagar and Madikeri, Akshaya Patra is serving the meals on a daily basis to the affected people inclusive of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Distributing the food

Type of meals served: Dishes like upma, puliyogere, pulao, and rice and sambar are being served in the affected district.

Delivery of meals: The Akshaya Patra’s team with the help of distribution vehicles are delivering meals to the affected people of Coorg.

Status of the relief work: On-going

Read about: Akshaya Patra’s relief effort in Kerala

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Disaster Relief

Gorakhpur Flood Survivors Receive Over 1 Lakh Meals from Akshaya Patra

Gorakhpur Flood Relief

DM appreciates Akshaya Patra for the tireless efforts of the team in serving over 1 lakh meals

appriciation letter

The Akshaya Patra Foundation was part of the relief efforts in flood-hit Gorakhpur city and its neighbouring towns and villages in Uttar Pradesh. Akshaya Patra’s employees from Bengaluru and Lucknow, worked tirelessly on the ground. they have served over one lakh meals to the survivors between August 26 and September 5, 2017.

kitchen on wheels

Customised Mobile Kitchen

This was made possible with the help of Kitchen on Wheels – a customised mobile vehicle designed by Akshaya Patra. The vehicle was stationed in Gorakhpur since August 26, 2017. It began with serving 5,000 meals on the first day. By September 5, over one lakh meals were distributed in and around the city.

The survivors were served Vegetable Pulao, Peas Pulao and Masala Rice and Theplas. The food is packed individually in disposable aluminum foil containers and sent to them.

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Distributing Food and Water

Many villages have submerged in water. The local authorities took help of boats to reach them. The nearest village which is submerged is 9 km away and it takes about 50 minutes to reach there. Apart from these, some more villages like Chauri Chaura, Sahjanwa, Maharajganj, Barhalganj, Campierganj, Sarhari, Nausar have also been affected.

The Kitchen on Wheels has been instrumental in helping Akshaya Patra reach survivors. With the help of kitchen staff from Lucknow and Vrindavan kitchens, the Foundation has been supplying freshly-cooked meals prepared in multiple cycles.

The transportation time for cooked food has reduced with the help of a mobile kitchen. The kitchen staff worked from 4 am in the morning and the process went on till at 10 pm. The initiative and food quality have been appreciated by the survivors. The increasing number of meals consumed every day are proof of this.

As we worked tirelessly to ensure that every survivor gets a full-stomach meal, volunteers from National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme, local hospitals and hotels, and some localities helped us in the endeavour.

The efforts put in by the Akshaya Patra team were appreciated by the District Magistrate.

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Disaster Relief

Flood relief initiative – We’re serving meals in Chennai!

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Read regular updates on our flood relief measures in Chennai. Scroll down to begin!

14 Dec 2015:IMG_8215

Today our kitchen set-up at Arambakkam served 6,000 packets of Puliyogare for lunch and dinner each. Our kitchen at Thiruvanmiyur  also served 6,000 meals at Kilpauk, Saidapet, Vyasarpadi, Vadapalani, Kalipatti, Porur and Paiyanoor.IMG_8286IMG_8426IMG_8324

13 Dec 2015:

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Today our feeding initiative at Arambakkam served 6,000 packets of Puliyogare for lunch and dinner, while our kitchen at Thiruvanmiyur served 10,000 meals too. The Thiruvanmiyur  kitchen served meals at Triplicane, Manali, Padur, Anna Nagar, Old Perungalathur, Vyasarpadi, Pammal and Porur.IMG_8484IMG_8480IMG_8493

12 Dec 2015:

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We have started a second feeding initiative in Arambakkam, with support from Sri Siddhanta Foundation, SocialPedia and D G Vaishnav College. Today we served 5,000 packets of Puliyogare (500 gm) for both lunch and dinner. Our other kitchen at Thiruvanmiyur, which started cooking at midnight served 9,000 meals today, and 10,000 meals yesterday.

10 Dec 2015:

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IMG-20151210-WA00072,600 packets of food was served yesterday at our kitchen in Thiruvanmiyur. Today there are 100 volunteers and we expect to serve between 7000-8000 packets. The cooking started at 7.30 am and is underway.

There are plans underway to open a second kitchen to provide food. Purchasing of supplies for the second branch of cooking has already begun.

09 Dec 2015:

Sweet BunOn 04, 05 and 08 December, trucks left for Cuddalore. These trucks were carrying dry food like fruit bread, chikki, chapatti packets, peanuts, candy etc. So far the Cuddalore efforts have distributed 35,000 packets of food. Today the aim is to distribute 10,000 ready to eat packets of food, and the same was distributed yesterday.IMG_8112
On 08 December, trucks left from HK Hill kitchen to our kitchen in Thiruvanmiyur at Chennai. The materials reached at 10.30 am the next day. By 11.45 am the team had already cooked dal for 2,000 people.
There are currently 25 volunteers and 4 Akshaya Patra employees at the site, more are expected tomorrow.

05 Dec 2015:

In the face of the floods that have rocked the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, citizens of the state and the rest of India have banded together in a show of unity that is inspiring. Relief material and volunteers have been pouring into the city to provide aid to those in need.

We, at the Akshaya Patra Foundation, too are eager to do our part in supporting Chennai, and alleviating the distress in the region. To this effect, our team has been serving freshly cooked meals every day with the aim of increasing the reach to 10,000 meals a day. The team will continue serving even beyond that based on the need of the hour.

The cooking procedure is being carried out through the efforts of a team of 10-30 people, working as required for the successful implementation of this initiative. The team has been equipped with utensils and cooking equipment from the Bengaluru unit, with raw materials, packing material, housekeeping and fuel supplies being sent regularly to Chennai till arrangements can be made to procure it from within the city.

To increase the reach of the meals in the city, our Karnataka unit is sending five Akshaya Patra vehicles carrying vessels in the coming week to Chennai. On assessment of the relief needs, supplies will be replenished, additional man power will be mobilised and equipment transported.

We are happy to be able to provide support to Chennai during these difficult times, and assist in reducing the difficulties facing the citizens of the city. We express our heartfelt solidarity to everyone in Chennai affected by this calamity.

If you would like to support our efforts in Chennai, make a contribution. You can avail tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act on all donations.

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Disaster Relief

A Journey of Perseverance – Part 5

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In the final part of this interview series, R Madan Chief Projects Officer of The Akshaya Patra Foundation summarises his experience at the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal, and contemplates the future. Read the previous section of the interview here.

Tell us about the collaboration between Tata Trusts and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha.

As I said both Tata Trusts and Akshaya Patra didn’t have a mandate to operate in Nepal, but Sipradian Motors who have an NGO arm called Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha (SSS) have a great presence in the region. Their help was crucial to paving the way for the project to run smoothly. The collaboration between the three of these organisations (Akshaya Patra, Tata Trusts and SSS) went off well. Now if we get the opportunity to start something in Nepal, Sipradian can be our ready partner.

IMG_2433Can we look forward to such collaborations in future?

Yes, we do see more collaboration with them. Nepal doesn’t have a Mid-Day Meal Programme, so the implementation of such programmes will be helpful to the people.

What are the high points of your experience?

One of the high points was that we were able to play a part in reducing the distress of the people. With their daily food taken care of, they could take focus on reconstruction.

We stood true to our word and earned the goodwill of the people.

 

 P.S – The Nepal kitchen closed operations as planned on September 17, 2015 after serving 1.4 million meals across 88 days in the region. The Akshaya Patra Foundation thanks everyone involved in making this initiative a success.

 

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Disaster Relief

A Journey of Perseverance – Part 4

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In the fourth of our five part interview with R Madan, Chief Projects Officer at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, we are given insight into the success of the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen initiative in Nepal. Read the previous section of the interview here.

What is the feedback from the beneficiaries about the food and running of the programme?

When we were there, the head of Tata Trusts and I visited the camps. We were surprised to be greeted by the entire camp. All the children were dancing and singing in their traditional clothes. They were very appreciative towards us.

blog4-image1The icing of the cake was what a lady said, which I think was written in the papers also. She said it’s not just about Akshaya Patra serving food. The initiative has brought people together at the camps too. It has created a social gathering because they all sit around where the food is being served. When we were serving the food, that one hour in the morning and evening became a social gathering where they could forget their troubles and look forward to something brighter. This for me was the greatest takeaway.

How many places/camps has Akshaya Patra been feeding in Nepal?

On an average we are feeding 12 to 14 camps. But the number of camps keeps varying from time to time because some of them are shutting down. The closest camp was around 3 kilometres while the furthest was around 45 kilometres.

Can you tell us about the additional benefits of the kitchen, like providing employment and income?

nepal-ladies-finalMore than income, it was a more of fostering cooperation between us and the people of Nepal.

Unlike in India, where we have three meals a day, Nepal is a little different because they rely on two big meals for the full day. Their morning meal was a big meal. During the afternoon they don’t usually eat followed by another big meal at around 6.30-7.30 in the evening.

But the issue was that people there were not willing to come to work before 7am. When we visited the camp, we asked a few ladies to join us at the kitchen. Initially they were little hesitant about coming early. We convinced them that we would pick them up and provide them with breakfast, after which they agreed to work in the kitchen. When we gave them these assurances, we had around 25 women coming to work for us.

blog4-image4Even more surprising was when their first month was over and we were giving them their salary, they refused to take it. They said they were indebted towards Akshaya Patra for their service, but we made sure they take their salary. That for me was a great feeling.

The Nepal Ambassador also visited the kitchen and the best thing he said in his concluding remark was till now the friendship between India and Nepal has been at a Governmental level. But this is one programme that had direct contact with the people. He also said he will go all out to help Akshaya Patra establish its operations in Nepal. This was a great statement made by him.

 Part V on 24 September…

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Disaster Relief

A journey of Perseverance – Part 3

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In the third section of this five part series, R Madan Chief Projects Officer at The Akshaya Patra Foundation describes the challenges the team faced in the initial days of facilitating the set up of the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal. Read Part 1 and Part 2 too!

Can you tell us about the initial challenges you faced? How did you overcome these challenges?

Our CSS (Central Strategic Sourcing) Head and our Project head went to Nepal and scouted the area to see where the kitchen could be established. Initially, we thought everything was destroyed there but we got the good news that some buildings are intact. We inspected a few wedding halls where we thought we could host the kitchen. We also had to check the supply lines because roads had also been damaged in the earthquakes, however they were fine and the roads were being fixed. This service was completely being done by India.

blog-3We zeroed in on one marriage hall which was around 2,500 square feet. The area didn’t have a wall around it. But we planned and moved like a battalion to get the kitchen operational at the earliest. We built a wall around the kitchen and finished the entire job of fixing the kitchen in three days flat.

The people of Nepal didn’t know the concept of centralised kitchen. What they were used to was a langar type of kitchen. Even when we asked the vendors for 3 tonnes of rice, they were taken aback. It was not just the people but even our collaborators, Tata Trusts and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha couldn’t believe it. When people started visiting the kitchen, then they realised the scale of our operations.

blog-3-2Initially we followed a North Indian menu for the people. But we got a lot of negative feedback in the first two days with regards to the food. We were taken aback and needed to find out the reason as soon as possible. Luckily I met a person who could speak a little Hindi. We asked him to translate and find out why was there a negative feedback about the food.

The people said they didn’t have a problem with the quality of food and it’s very tasty. The main issue was with the certain types of vegetables and dal being used. In Hindu tradition when you are in mourning certain vegetables – for example pumpkin, brinjal and masoor dal – cannot be consumed. It was a lack of knowledge but also a great learning experience at that time. They also had a problem with the rice we were serving. That day I called the Chef who worked at the hotel where we were staying. He was a Nepali who worked in India. I asked him to help us out with the rice. He wanted to see the rice so I gave him a sample.

He cooked him in his style and said that this is the correct rice to be served. And there was no looking back from there.

Part IV on 23 September…

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Disaster Relief

A journey of perseverance – Part 2

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In the second of this five part series, R Madan Chief Projects Officer of The Akshaya Patra Foundation describes his first impression on arriving at Nepal to facilitate the setup of the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen. Read the first part of the series here.

What was your first impression on reaching the site?

nepal-image1When I reached Nepal I saw quite a few building that were intact but as we moved in towards the towns, we began to see the devastation caused by the earthquake. Bhaktapur which is a historical city at the heart of Nepal, where we set up the kitchen, was completely devastated.

When I reached the camp I realised that unlike innepal-image2 other places the people from the camps were not just the financially disadvantaged, but people from different social classes who lost everything due to the earthquake. Victims were forced to leave their places and everyone went to Kathmandu under the assumption that all relief was there. They were right because relief operations could not function in other areas.

There was a lot of stress and strain for the people, and emotions were high. We could see that in their eyes.

Part III on 22 September…

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Disaster Relief

A journey of perseverance – Part 1

A-Journey-Of-Perseverance

In this five part interview series R Madan, Chief Projects Officer at The Akshaya Patra Foundation, shares his experiences setting up the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal. Find out about the daily challenges and triumphs he and the team faced on their journey to provide daily, nutritious food in the earthquake affected region.

Can you tell us how the kitchen reached the one million mark? How long did it take from day 1?

When the earthquake happened on April 24th in Nepal, we got a call from the TATA Trusts CEO and he asked us what we could do to help. I suggested we set up a kitchen. Earlier we were airlifting supplies but that was a limited option. So I checked with the vendors to see if we could readily acquire equipment for a project like this.

Nepal-blog-image-2We began pulling material from Bengaluru, Valsad, Lucknow and Pune. All our vendors cooperated with us when they heard what we were trying to do. Our team went to Nepal and at the border we then took the help of TATA motors to help us with transportation of the material and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha to clear the material through customs.

Both TATA Trusts and Akshaya Patra don’t have a mandate to operate there but TATA Trusts utilised the help of Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha, which has a strong presence in Nepal, for the project.

To help kick start the operations, a few of our executives from Bangalore, Lucknow and Vrindavan were sent to Nepal. We also hired a few people from Madurai on contract, who were specialised in disaster management.

After working incessantly for weeks, on the afternoon of June 18th, our truck reached there and on June 19th, we send out the first meals.

From that day till today, we have covered over 1 million meals in Nepal.

Part II on 21 September…

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Disaster Relief

Journey of ‘The Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen Project,’ Nepal

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This initiative was aimed to contribute towards bringing relief and hope to the people affected by the massive earthquake here in Nepal.

The Journey (Scroll down to begin)

17 September 2015 – The journey ends

On 17 September the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen set up under the aegis of Tata Trusts and their associates Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha, and facilitated by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, served its last meal. The kitchen was closed as planned on this day, after a fulfilling journey spanning 88 days of operation and serving 1.4 million meals. This has truly been a rewarding and unforgettable experience for all involved at The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

21 August 2015 – A million meals

The Nepal kitchen crossed the production and distribution of its millionth meal! The kitchen continues serving nutritious food to camps still running in the area.

18 July 2015 – The journey continues

At the end of one month the Earthquake Relief Centralised Kitchen in Nepal served 441,632 meals to the beneficiaries in the region. The kitchen’s reach has now grown to providing over 17,000 meals across 17 camps in and around Bhaktapur every day. With the continued support of Tata Trusts, Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha and the Government of Nepal, the kitchen is expected to remain in operations for the next three to five months at least.

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23 June 2015 – Providing nutrition and employment

Once again preparations have been on to serve wholesome meals to 5,500 people in the morning and evening each. When the crew arrives at the kitchen in the morning the food has already been filled into the vessels to deliver on time to the camps in the region. On the menu today is rice, dal (pulses), with a gourd and beans sabji (vegetable).

Before leaving to follow the delivery vehicles to a camp, the crew meets Tek Bahadur Bhandari, his wife Tika Maya Bhandari and their third daughter Anita. Tek and Tika have three sons and four daughters. They migrated to Bhaktapur, and were in search of work. Now by working in the kitchen they are able to support their family. It’s heartwarming to know that the kitchen is not just providing nutritious food to those in need, but also providing employment in the region.

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Tek and his family

The crew visits the camp at Byasi, near Bhaktapur, in the evening. This camp houses about 450 people who stay in the makeshift shelters. The big tents hold about four or five families each, while the smaller ones hold one family.Here Sunar Prajapati, camp-in-charge says, “The food is sufficient and helpful. No we don’t have to struggle to cook anything anymore.”

An interesting feature of the camp is that it also has a playschool which cares for eighty children.

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A group of children enjoying the meal

22 June 2015 – Life goes on

Relief measures continue in Bhaktapur as the morning meal is prepared for 5,500 people. The menu for the morning meal consists of rice, dal, with a carrot and bean sabji (vegetable). The first van leaves the kitchen at 6.30am, and the last van at 8.30am to deliver the fresh food on time to the camps.

Following one of the delivery vans takes our team to the Kamal Vinayak (Garund Kunde) camp, the same one we visited yesterday. We watch as people gather quickly to get their meals. Mothers are accompanied by their little children who are curious about the activity at the camp. Today the residents recognise us, and open up to us about their experience.

A mother at the camp says, “If the food arrives on time, I won’t have to worry about my children food before school…yes, now the schools have reopened and they are going back to school.”

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Fresh food getting distributed to the camp residents

As the community accepts us amongst them, we get an opportunity to get a glimpse into their lives at the camp.

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An elderly lady having her morning meal in her tent

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A family enjoying the meal in their tent. They have managed to salvage some of their belongings from the disaster.

Back in the kitchen preparations have been on to cook the evening meal, which is completed by 4.00pm. The menu for this meal is rice, dal and cabbage sabji.

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Cooked food in containers ready for delivery

Howeve, in order to avoid wasting excess food, we have decided to distribute food to new areas around Bhaktapur. We follow the delivery vehicles to a new location that houses about 200 families.

As the food is being served at the new location, a young resident of the locality Vishnu Prajapati tells us, “No one has delivered any food to this community so far, this is the first time it’s happening. This will make not a small change but a big one. The children here are going back to schools after a long break because of the earthquake and this food will certainly help them too.”

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People come together to find out what is happening

Believing that these meals will help bring some stability to the region after days of instability, we take leave of this community.

21 June 2015 – Ensuring food for all

Cooking starts long before the sun rises to make sure the food is delivered on time to the 5,500 people waiting in the camps. On the menu for the morning meal is rice, dal and potato sabji (vegetable). To feed so many hungry people 1,700 kilograms of rice, 1,200 litres of dal (pulses) and 780 kilograms of potato vegetabl is prepared.

The delivery team reaches Kamal Vinayak (Garund Kunde) camp, which is providing shelter to about 500 people from Tocha, Bhaktapur. Here Romila, a concerned citizen says, “Their houses are destroyed, they have lost everything, so taking care for their food both morning and evening…they don’t have to worry about that, I think this is good job you guys are doing.”

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Waiting in line to get the fresh morning meal (Kamal Vinayak)

At the relief camp in Maheswari, Sabin Khyaju, Secretary of the Management Committee of Maheswari says, “The relief camp is home to around 800 people whose houses and most of their belongings have been destroyed including cooking utensils, so even if they have raw ingredients they are unable to cook. The delivery of the cooked food at the location has created a social and communal event. The people came out in numbers to receive their rations required for their families and they take that time to talk to each other and strengthen their bond amongst the people.”

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A girl coming back to her tent after getting her morning meal

The menu for the evening meal is rice, dal, beans and potato sabji (vegetable), to feed 5,500 people

20 June 2015 – Food served to 5,500 people

On the 20th of June the first morning meal was prepared for 5,500 people. It took approximately 2 tons of rice, 220 kilograms of dal, 70 kilograms of tomatoes, 140 kilograms of potatoes, 30 kilograms of spices and other condiments and masala. The cooking measurements are taken after feedback on requirement from SSS, which will gradually climb up to the targeted figure.

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Preparation of morning meals

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Food being delivered and served at a relief camp

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Families enjoy their healthy morning meals at a relief camp

The kitchen has the capacity to cook about 10,000 meals in an hour with a maximum capacity of cooking 100,000 meals a day. The kitchen will serve the beneficiaries in and around Kathmandu for the next six months and continue if need be.

19 June 2015 – Kitchen is ready and serving begins

Assessing the amount of work, the kitchen is looking to start operating on 21st June. The dedication and devotion to the humanitarian effort stirred the staff on and the kitchen is ready on mid-day 19th June. After two hours of quality assessment and cleaning the first evening meals were cooked to serve 1,100 people in an area called Bode, one of the eleven regions identified to be delivered cooked meals every day.

The people accommodated in makeshift shelters at Bode came from the worst hit area of Sindhulpal Chowk. Madan, the camp coordinator of Bode said, “Despite all the things that have happened we will come up from this. The relief kitchen initiative has also given us the strength to look forward.”

Bhelukhel, Maheswari, Jella, Garun Kund, Kamal Binayak, Thulo Bayasee, Bayasee, Bode, Thali, Gokarneswar and Bhugmati are the eleven regions in and around Kathmandu identified by the initiative to be delivered cooked food every day.

The relief kitchen is set to cook two meals a day, where all the locations except Bhugmati will receive morning meals; the numbers of meals for each place vary according to need. The kitchen will cook around 7,192 morning meals and 8,192 evening meals each day, and will be delivered using vehicles provided by Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha.

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Kitchen almost ready for operation

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Cooking begins

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 Food being unloaded from the cauldrons

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 Loading the food on the delivery vehicle

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Fresh cooked food distributed in the evening at a camp in Bode, one of the eleven areas identified to be served

18 June 2015 – Last truck reaches Bhaktapur and installation process begins

On 18th June, the last vehicle reached Bhaktapur. It brought a cauldron, boiler and other related accessories to get the kitchen ready.

The kitchen is built on an area of approximately 2,500 sq. feet with vessels storage and washing area adjoined. This temporary centralised kitchen is expected to cook approximately 10,000 meals a day, and is equipped with three cauldrons of 600 litres capacity to cook rice, and one cauldron of 1,200 litre capacity to cook dal, as well as other machines to assist in the food preparation process like cutting, peeling and grinding vegetables.

15 June 2015

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A man standing on what is left of his house looking over what is left outside

 14 June 2015

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While some are engrossed at work, some are busy in a game of chess somewhere in Nepal

12 June 2015

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Work in progress at the kitchen site

10 June 2015 – Trucks arrive at Bhaktapur, new kitchen location is identified

The first batch of trucks arrived on 10th June, 2015. Once the equipment and materials are unloaded, work of setting up the kitchen takes a brisk pace towards completion. Meanwhile the location of the kitchen has been changed to a new site as the earlier is deemed unsuitable. The new kitchen is located at Subakamana Party Palace, Suryabinayak Chowk, Bhaktapur.

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Materials arrive at the new kitchen site in Bhaktapur

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Setting the kitchen up

9 June 2015

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A student preparing for exam in a deserted school which now serves a home to him

 8 June 2015

 

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A mother getting her children ready for school

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A deserted classroom

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While classes are conducted in temporary classrooms outside

7 June 2015

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Innocence is intact, despite the debris!

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Clean up initiative underway in Nepal

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People trying to rebuild and salvage

5 June 2015

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Makeshift shelters accommodating survivors in Nepal

28 May 2015

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Materials essential to run the kitchen loaded on a truck in Lucknow

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One of the trucks packed with materials leave for destination Kathmandu

27th May – Aggregation and dispatch of Materials

On 27th May, overseen by the Akshaya Patra operations team, various installation materials are aggregated and packed in Bengaluru, Pune, Valsad and Lucknow; to be shipped to Nepal.

By end-May, 2015 two trucks from Bengaluru carrying heavy kitchen equipment like cauldrons as well as food products with a long shelf life that are not available in Nepal like spices and tamarind juice left for Nepal. The vehicle from Pune carried a Thermax boiler, while the truck from Valsad carried a small boiler and other required material. The Lucknow truck carried vessels, crates and pallets, and galvanized iron boxes amongst other items.

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Packed materials ready for shipment

28th April – Communication from Prime Minister’s Office

On 28th April Akshaya Patra receives communication from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to assist the earthquake survivors in Nepal. Akshaya Patra prepares 100,000 meals in its Jaipur kitchen on 29th April which is transported to Delhi and then airlifted to Nepal. On 30th April Akshaya Patra sends an additional 2,500 kilograms of emergency food aid to the region.

Meanwhile, on 29th April, Akshaya Patra operations team meets with Principal Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and prepares a Plan of Action to set up an open kitchen facility to provide meals to the people displaced due to the earthquake.

In the next few days, a joint committee comprising of nominees from Tata Trust, Akshaya Patra and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha (SSS) conducted a need analysis and found that thousands of people in and around Kathmandu are in dire need of food, water and shelter.

A joint initiative by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Jamsetji Tata Trust and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha is taken up to set up an earthquake relief centralised kitchen in Bhaktapur.

Akshaya Patra presents a comprehensive plan for setting up of kitchen working with Jamsetji Tata Trust and Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha, mapping out the kitchen structure, material requirement, budget and responsibilities of each party.

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25th April 2015 – Nepal Earthquake

The earthquake on the 25th April and the tremors after claim lives of more than 8,800 people; injure over 23,000 and displace millions across Nepal.

read more