The Hope Foundation has taken prompt action to respond to natural and manmade disasters
since its inception. Whether an earthquake, cyclone or tsunami, HOPE has always supported
people in need.
In the past HOPE has dispatched Emergency Response Teams to disaster zones like Gujarat in 2001 after a deadly earthquake killed 20,000; Tamil Nadu in 2004 in the aftermath of a tsunami that killed nearly 8,000; and Cyclone Aila that hit West Bengal in 2009.
More recently we have responded rapidly to provide lifesaving support to thousands of families impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns and the devastating cyclones Amphan, which struck in the middle of the first wave in 2020, and Yaas which struck during the deadly second wave of COVID-19 in 2021. Details of our response to these after outlined below
2021: COVID-19 Second Wave and Cyclone Yaas
In 2021, West Bengal experienced the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, which was a huge cause for concern. During the surge in COVID-19 cases in April 2021, the hospitals in India were overwhelmed and at full capacity. There was a shortage of beds and oxygen supplies, leaving many people without access to healthcare. HOPE Hospital was converted into a COVID Hospital, and 53 beds were dedicated to COVID-19 patients. Additionally, a temporary Satellite Health Facility was setup for COVID patients that did not require critical care. During this emergency, HOPE Hospital procured ventilators, BiPAP machines, suction operators, portable x-ray machine, cardiac monitors, laparoscopic instruments, biochemistry analyser, oxygen cylinders and lifesaving medicines.
While people were still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, West Bengal was hit by a devastating cyclone on 26th May 2021, Cyclone Yaas. Many people lost their lives, homes were destroyed, villages were flooded, and farmland was damaged. Several villages on the remote islands of the Sunderbans were left without food and shelter. While we already had Emergency Response Teams distributing food to vulnerable communities in Kolkata, we immediately created new teams to provide lifesaving support to the families impacted by the cyclone. The teams travelled for hours each day by boat to provide food, clothes, shelter and medical assistance.
2020: First COVID-19 Lockdown and Cyclone Amphan
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world's understanding of vulnerability. India, a country with a population of 1.33 billion, was hugely affected from the first day of complete lockdown on the 24th of March 2020. People living on the streets and slums, and daily wage labourers, lost their jobs immediately. Huge numbers of migrant labourers, who became unemployed and homeless, returned to their native homes on foot, walking thousands of miles. The danger of starvation and hunger meant survival was uncertain even before facing the real threat of the pandemic.
The uncertainty and vulnerability escalated when another disaster hit in May. Cyclone Amphan caused great damage to the city of Kolkata and other districts including the Sundarban delta.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, HOPE established Emergency Response Teams immediately after lockdown to distribute essential food items and sanitization kits and to provide primary healthcare services to those that had no access to food or medical support. The Emergency Response Team also rescued abandoned people. Secondary healthcare interventions were provided in HOPE Hospital. After Cycle Amphan hit Additional Emergency Response Teams were formed to reach out to families in desperate need of food, clothes and healthcare.
All of this was make possible by our incredible supporters who responded with such amazing generosity to our emergency response appeal.