Uttarakhand Disaster Relief – IAHV UK raised £32,000
Mountain Beauty turns to Raging Torrents
Tucked up against the Himalayas in the far North of India, next to Tibet and Nepal, Uttarakhand is famous for its beauty, the Himalayas, and as a destination for pilgrims seeking spiritual emancipation and revelation.
The rugged beauty of the mountains suddenly turned to raging torrents and devastating landslides when massive rainstorms on 16th July 2013 when nearly 4 times normal monsoon hit an area of Uttarakhand roughly the size of Wales. Early reports were that over 3,000,000 people were affected, and over 4,000 villages washed away.
Over £32,000 raised by IAHV Just within days, there were around 200 local volunteers on the ground in Uttarakhand, working on food distribution, medical camps and providing courses in Trauma Relief. The local volunteers were from IAHV and the Art of Living, and they worked alongside the Army and other specialist rescue organisations from day 1.
People in the UK were slow to realise the scale of this disaster. In terms of number of people affected, this was much bigger than Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans. Tens of thousands of people in Uttarakhand lost everything and desperately in need of help.
IAHV UK started immediately to fundraise, using a combination of Email, Social Media and word of mouth. Thanks to a fantastic effort led by Shailen Mittal, we quickly raised and donated over £32,000.
IAHV volunteers involved from day 1 IAHV and Art of Living volunteers began relief work at 04:00 on 17 June 2013 at Uttarakhand’s Jolly Grant Airport. They worked in coordination with military, the Disaster Management Team, and the Government of Uttarakhand, to distribute relief materials and food to the flood victims.
Too weak to walk and body shivering with a raging fever, Ram Kumar was carried down the chopper steps by two of our volunteers. Hungry and exhausted, he was helped by our volunteers who got him immediate medical attention. They ran around to arrange for a simple cup of tea and a blanket for him. Too weak to even hold the cup,volunteers Malvika and Swati fed him biscuits and tea. Having lost all his belongings, Ram Kumar didn't even have slippers on his feet. As all searched around for some footwear, Surya, one of the volunteers, highly moved by the incident, quietly slipped his own slippers onto Ram Kumar's feet. Working barefoot was of little concern to Surya at that moment.
Once the drama of rescuing 100,000 trapped flood victims was over,the volunteers engaged in the next challenge which was to de-silt thousands of houses which were buried in mud and debris left behind by the flood-waters and to repair and rebuild houses before the harsh Himalayan winter.
IAHV Involvement in Long Term Relief work As at November 2013, IAHV is involved in long-term rehabilitation work into flood affected areas.Projects include the repair & reconstruction of houses and cow sheds, supporting school children & their education, training in organic farming and ongoing Trauma relief.
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