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Home Archery It's now mission Amphan relief for archer Rahul Banerjee

It’s now mission Amphan relief for archer Rahul Banerjee

He called up a couple of his friends and they set out on their own in a car loaded with tarpaulin, food packets and sanitary napkins

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Cut off from his sport due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian archer Rahul Banerjee has busied himself with relief work for victims of cyclone Amphan, travelling to the affected areas with friends. If the pandemic was not enough, West Bengal was ravaged by the fiercest cyclone to have hit the state in 100 years, on May 20. Moved by the plight of those affected by the natural calamity, the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist decided to do his bit. “As our car went into a village (Kultuli), people started running after our car. They were so desperate for relief materials. We had about 200 packets and 150 tarpaulin but the demand was much higher,” Banerjee told PTI in an interaction.

He called up a couple of his friends and they set out on their own in a car loaded with tarpaulin, food packets and sanitary napkins. They headed straight to the affected areas in South 24 Parganas on May 25 morning. “All the farmlands had turned into large lakes. There was water everywhere and roofs of all the houses were damaged. We felt so helpless and devastated. We felt this was not enough.” Banerjee, along with his friends Niloy Das (a tattoo artist) and Priyam Middey (a dance teacher), returned with a resolve to give more and engage more people from their respective fraternities. They made their next trip to Sandeshkhali and then to Sunderban, and the picture was the same everywhere.

“Everything has been washed or blown away. I had to park my car far away and the civic police escorted us to the locals and when they spotted us it was like they had struck gold, so eager to grab a few packets of basic necessities. The smiles on their faces when they thanked us were worth the effort,” he added. Since then, Banerjee and his friends’ relief work has grown and they have already made four trips in a mini van loaded with food packets and tarpaulins. “We are also now helped by an NGO and many of our friends have started chipping in with funds, dry foods, tarpaulins, old clothes etc.,” Banerjee, who visited Bakkhali on Sunday, said.

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The last few days have taught us the value of “a roof above our head” and “food on the table”…necessities that have become never-ending nightmares for thousands as they scramble to rebuild homes and feed families after #CycloneAmphan has left nothing but destruction behind…. Day 3 yesterday was spent at Kultuli…roads are in bad condition, acres of land lay spoilt due to salinity and locals have already exhausted the little stock of food they had in storage….we distributed around 300 packets of supplies, along with tarpaulin sheets too…our day ended with a visit to Patuli where we provided some essentials. Yet another successful endeavor thanks to some wonderful people pitching in… while we are on the ground, the teary eyes and heartwarming smiles keep reminding us that it wouldn’t be possible to move ahead in this noble cause without your help, support, and prayers! Your contribution means a lot….it doesn’t always have to be monetary…you can provide dry foods, medicines, sanitary napkins, old clothes….even if you can pass on the name of a contact who has better reach, that would be useful in such situations…like I have said every bit matters… let us all do what we can! Thanks 🙏 . . . . . . . #amphan #amphancyclone #humanity #amphanrelieffund #amphanreliefwork #amphanrelieffundraiser #supercyclone #help #relief #selfinitiative

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They have taken all measures to distribute the items, wearing protective gears to combat the spread of the pandemic, but Banerjee fears a spike in cases as the Amphan-affected people are running around for help without maintaining social distancing. “All they want is relief material as they do not have food and shelter and they care least about COVID-19. No one was wearing a mask and everywhere there were scores of people waiting for help. Such has been the devastation,” he concluded.

Read Also: Footballers set out to help Amphan-affected West Bengal

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