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Newbury Park woman fundraising to help rebuild Kerala community devastated by flooding

PUBLISHED: 13:37 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:38 29 August 2018

A house in Chalakudy that has been destroyed because of the devastating floods and heavy rain. Photo: Meril Antony.

A house in Chalakudy that has been destroyed because of the devastating floods and heavy rain. Photo: Meril Antony.

Meril Antony

A Newbury Park resident who used to work and live in India where heavy rain and flooding has killed more than 400 people is trying to fundraise £5,000 to help re-build houses in the devastated community.

From left to right: Jutten George, Arthi Veerupillai and Cara Humphreys. Photo: Arthi VeerupillaFrom left to right: Jutten George, Arthi Veerupillai and Cara Humphreys. Photo: Arthi Veerupilla

Arthi Veerupillai, 36, visited Kerala in South India when she was travelling last year, and also volunteered as a teacher in the community before returning to England only a month ago.

More than one million people are now sheltered in around 3000 relief camps in Kerala where around 50,000 houses have been destroyed, and more than 410 people have lost their lives in what could be said as the worst monsoon in nearly a century.

The rain has now stopped, the flood waters are receding and the extent of devastation to homes and country is beginning to unfold.

Arthi, and her friend who she met whilst travelling, Cara Humphreys, from Canterbury, are now fundraising to help a small labour community in Chalakudy, Thrissur, recover and rebuild after the floods.

Flooding and heavy rain has caused huge damage to thousands of homes in Kerala in India. Photo: Meril AntonyFlooding and heavy rain has caused huge damage to thousands of homes in Kerala in India. Photo: Meril Antony

They have raised over £1,000 in a week, which will be spent on building materials and cleaning the surroundings - and are hoping to raise £5,000 to help 10 families who have lost their homes and their loved ones.

Arthi and Cara are working with their two friends who are based on the ground in Chalakudy (Meril Antony and Jutten George) and are providing relief materials, in particular disinfectants and bleaching powder, to ensure that the people are looked after and do not fall prey to water-borne infections.

Arthi said: “Kerala is very special to us in so many ways.

“We both have lived and worked within the community, who embraced us as their own and it hurts us to see them battle through the havoc the heavy rains and floods have caused. We want to help Kerala as much as we can, it is devastating what has happened.”

Jutten George carrying out work on a house that has been destroyed in Chalakudy in Kerala. Photo: Meril Antony.Jutten George carrying out work on a house that has been destroyed in Chalakudy in Kerala. Photo: Meril Antony.

“We have raised £1,050 in under a week. Our target is £5,000 and we need all the help we can get.”

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