Archive for September, 2008

India Hot

Mark and I landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India in the early morning of September 25, 2008.  On a hunch, I asked a Korean Airlines representative at baggage claim if there was a shuttle to the Domestic airport for our flight to Chennai, dreading the haggling with taxi drivers at 2am.  Much to my surprise, the representative gave me specific instructions on how to get to the free shuttle:  “make a right after clearing customs.”  “How long has this shuttle been in service?” I ask the people at the counter.  They gave me the “what kind of idiotic question is this” look and huffed:  “over a year.”  Well, blow me down.

Even at 2:00am, the shuttle took 20 minutes, negotiating the crowded tarmac at a slow crawl.  We arrived at the Domestic terminal to find that our flight time had been changed from 4:55am to 5:40am; there were no free seats in the terminal area; and the Cafe Coffee Day lounge did not open until 3:00am.  No matter.  We were happy to be in the terminal as opposed to in the 86 degrees F streets at 2:30am.

It wasn’t until we reached Pondicherry at around 11am that the distress of 90 degree heat and 86 percent humidity hit us.  Since then, brief showers yesterday and the day before yesterday have done nothing to cool things down or reduce the humidity.  It is now 91 degrees, but “feels like 102 degrees” according to  Life exists only under a fan.

I suppose our discomfort is more acute given the 4 months of cool and even cold weather we had in Vancouver this summer.  That plus the extra pounds we gained from eating extravagantly over the last 6 months.

I hope we adjust quickly or it is going to be a long two months before the weather cools in December.

Information Management System Wiki for Bihar Flood Relief and Rehabilitation

A small group of individuals who work at the Planning Commission (Gunjan Veda, Officer on Special Duty; Harsh Agarwal, Consultant; Priyanka Mukherjee, Consultant; and Ruth Zothanpuii) have put together this information mangement system wiki for Bihar flood relief and rehabilition.

It includes telephone numbers for government officials as well as helplines by district and for medical care, links for statistics, pictures, and news and analysis, as well as a list of organizations working in relief and rehabilitation, with details of their area of operation and contact people and numbers.

One important piece of information is on how NGOs can send relief materials:

Relief material from any part of the country can be booked by various NGOs/Trusts, organisations and Government Agencies comprising National Disaster Management Agency in favour of District Magistrates of Purnea, Saharsa and Katihar. It will be transported free of charge by the Indian Railways. Control Rooms for assisting in relief material transportation are functional at the Railway Board and at all zonal and divisional headquarters of Indian Railways. People interested in sending relief material can contact the General Managers of Zonal Railways and the Divisional Railway Managers

If you are an NGO working in the area and your name is not mentioned in the list of organizations involved in relief and rehabilitation, please send the following information to or

Name of Organisation:

Contact details and web address, if any:

Contact person:

Area of operation: (names of villages/ relief camps/ districts):

Focus areas, if any (e.g. health, women, children):

Collection points:

List of materials/ services being collected:

Specifications for cash donations:

Any other information:

Single-point Resource for Bihar Flood Relief and Rehabilitation

Karmayog, a list-serve and resource based in Mumbai that connects like-minded people working to improve their worlds, has put together the most comprehensive, single-point source of information of all organizations working in rescue, relief and rehabilitation in Bihar:

Do check this out if you are looking to help – it is more complete than my previous post.


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