In June 2020, Nisarga - a major cyclone hit the coast of Konkan. Nisarga was the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the Indian state Maharashtra in the month of June since since 1892, a first time in over a hundred and twenty years (ref)
Nisarga originated as a depression in the Arabian Sea and moved generally northward. On 2 June, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) upgraded the system to a cyclonic storm, assigning the name Nisarga. On the next day, Nisarga further intensified to a severe cyclonic storm and turned to the northeast, ultimately making landfall in the Raigad district, approximately 95 km (60 mi) south of Mumbai (ref)
Atale, the village where the Graminno Community MakerSpace Workshop is located, lies just 20 km from the coast of Raigad. The cyclone started as very strong winds that started blowing from the west. But soon, the eye of the cyclone hit the shore, and then all hell broke loose!
Those of us in Mumbai then, we were unaware of the extent of damage caused in Atale till Tushar, our project coordinator from Atale called several days later after connectivity was restored.
Trees were uprooted, and some trees were reported to be completely lifted off the ground and thrown thrown several meters away. Time tested earthen roof tiles were dislodged and flew away casually like lost flower petals.
Almost every house in the village suffered damages. Some houses completely collapsed under the onslaught of the cyclone.
To complicate matters, this was bang in the middle of the Covid lockdown. Many of the villagers who had migrated to cities had returned to the village, and hence almost everyone got impacted by the cyclone.
The Government provided some financial relief to the villagers, but it many cases that hardly matched up to the extent of the damage caused.
The cyclone's impact on Atale and the village life would cause a major set back to the Graminno project. We had to quickly respond with help. With the help of Accion Labs and Venu Madhuri our corporate sponsor and partner NGO respectively, we managed to put together a relief package for the village.
Each villager was provided a small amount that contributed towards the materials that they had to purchase for rebuilding their home.
The distribution ceremony was conducted in conjunction with the workshop inauguration ceremony, and officiated by Rahul Deshpande, the regional project coordinator and members of the Graminno team.
The above photos illustrate some of the repaired homes.
Everyone in the village contributed to the rebuilding exercise, including the children and the youth.