Devastating floods in South India and Ricoh’s relief efforts



The 2015 Chennai (Southern part of India ) floods resulted from heavy rainfall of annual northeast monsoon in November-December 2015. They affected the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and the union territory of Puducherry, with Tamil Nadu and the city of Chennai particularly hard-hit. More than 400 people were killed and over 1.8 million people were displaced.

The incessant rains left the city with water-logged roads, and inundated airports and railway stations. Normal life came to a grinding halt as schools, colleges, offices, industrial units, shops, ATMs and swipe machines, among others, had to face complete shutdown.

Many volunteer groups worked on the ground to collect and distribute relief materials, and share information about people and places that needed help. However, there were also many cases where milk, candles, batteries, water and other essential items were being sold for a hefty premium. Fuel too became scarce.

Since no mode of transportation was available, Ricoh India contacted Chennai’s leading daily newspaper, ‘The Hindu’, in a bid to reach and help those affected by the floods. We organised items of basic needs and reached them to the publication’s office – items such as blankets, clothes, mosquito repellents, torches, milk powder, bottled water etc. The Hindu, in turn, arranged delivery of these items to flood victims by sending them through police vehicles.

Ricoh India also tied up with the NGO ‘Goonj’ which undertakes disaster relief, humanitarian aid and community development across India, recycling discarded clothes and household goods into useful products for those in need. We collected useful material from Ricoh employees and sent it to Chennai through ‘Goonj’.

In the aftermath of the unfortunate floods that ravaged Chennai, both day-to-day life and business had been thrown into disarray. In such an environment of uncertainty, Ricoh India reached out to its customers and expressed solidarity with them. We assured them that we were acutely aware of the problems they faced, and assigned a special task force to extend customer service for their machines, ensuring that their businesses ran uninterrupted.

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