10. Emergency Relief Care
the strangers who can give you nothing in return?
A natural disaster brings with it life-shattering impact on an individual, community, city, state, nation, or even the entire world. Earthquakes, famines, floods, tsunamis and cyclones cause enormous destruction causing human suffering and producing a negative impact on national economies. India has been witness to widespread destruction and immense human suffering from natural disasters in this decade such as the Kutch earthquake, the Tsunami in Southern India, Mumbai and Surat floods and the Leh cloudburst, to name a few. Each disaster has resulted in tremendous loss of life and property.
To alleviate the pain caused by these natural disasters, 'Emergency Relief Care' was launched under the umbrella of Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care programme. 'Emergency Relief Care' works towards providing resilience, support and care as well as essential supplies and immediate relief aid to the impacted communities at the earliest. It also endeavours to raise funds, and help in the permanent rehabilitation of the affected people.
The key areas of relief work undertaken during an emergency are:
1. Financial Support
2. Immediate Relief Aid
3. Medical Aid
4. Permanent Rehabilitation Programmes
5. Counselling and Guidance
This year, approximately 330 million people are affected by the drought in India, as the country reels from severe water shortages and desperate poor farmers suffer crop losses. The Indian state of Maharashtra is facing severe drought - 28,000 villages have been affected, with the Marathwada region being the worst affected. The villages in this region not only face acute scarcity of drinking water, but the entire agro-economics is completely devastated. With no water supply, the farmers in the area are unable to grow crop, rendering them jobless. This severe situation has resulted in ecological damage as animals and birds are also facing tough times and several animals have been sold by farmers to slaughter-houses due to lack of agricultural activity.
Under the Emergency Relief Programme, Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care (SRLC) is providing immediate as well as long term relief in the drought affected areas.
- Providing water and food supplies in remote villages.
- Providing employment to the unemployed villagers through construction of water harvesting projects.
- Setting up temporary camps for livestock giving them shelter, water and fodder.
- Supporting animal shelter homes.
- Watershed Development work
- Rejuvenating Defunct Water Structures
- Widening and Deepening of Nullahs to enhance ground water recharge
- De-silting of ponds
- Constructing water tanks
- Planting indigenous trees
A team of SRLC volunteers visited Marathwada to offer seva and to spend quality time with those who are not just financially and physically affected, but also emotionally devastated.
This Drought Relief project has benefitted more than 50,000 people from more than 50 villages. It was undertaken with the support of NGO partners like Samast Mahajan, Vardhaman Sanskar Dham, Marathwada Gramin Vikas Sanstha and Savitribai Phule Mahila Ekatma Samaj Mandal.
The calamity here lasted for a short duration but impacted the lives of the people in a big way. The magnitude of the disaster was such that it needed rehabilitation efforts, especially rebuilding infrastructure for education which would facilitate rebuilding of lives quickly. Two educational institutions impacted by the floods were the Goswami Ganesh Dutt Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Uttarkashi and Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Joshimath. While the Uttarkashi school caters to approximately 1000 students from 6th to 12th standards, the Joshimath school has 700 students from 1st to 12th standards.
The Uttarkashi school was totally swept away in the floods. SRLC joined hands with Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh to support the reconstruction of this school. The Joshimath school was severely damaged in the floods and some of its rooms were completely washed away. SRLC sponsored the rebuilding of this school, with the support of Giants Group of Chowpatty, a service organisation leading the rebuilding efforts. These schools have now welcomed their students back, so they can build their future.
In June 2013, one of the worst natural disasters hit the state of Uttarakhand. Described by some as the ‘Himalayan Tsunami’, torrential rains resulted in flooding and landslides leaving thousands dead; lakhs displaced; and the infrastructure crippled.
SRLC interacted with NGOs that initiated work to provide relief to the victims at selected locations. Through these NGOs, SRLC provided rice, dal, spices, medicines and large size tarpaulins to relief camps set up in Rishikesh. SRLC also supported the efforts of the Government of Gujarat by sponsoring kits, which included 35 lifesaving and basic utility items such as grains, milk powder, utensils, clothing, blankets, etc.
While support was offered for immediate relief to the affected communities, SRLC is also planning to send a team of sevaks to provide rehabilitation support to the affected areas.
In the state of Maharashtra, a drought spread across 3500 villages, destroying more than 50 percent of their crop yield and adversely affecting more than 11,000 villages. Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care tied up with a Mumbai based NGO ‘Samast Mahajan’ and contributed by donating Rs. 10 lakhs to adopt a village named ‘Bavi’ in Beed district to provide assistance to the villagers and save the animals.
Activities included setting up projects to provide sustainable irrigation and viable drinking water sources. Villagers were given remuneration in the form of food, water, employment and fodder for their animals. A team of 80 SRLC sevaks visited Bavi and other neighbouring villages. They assisted in all activities and additionally spent time with the villagers, engaging them in satsang, bhakti and dance so as to soothe their hearts and boost their spirits.
Severe floods hit the state of Assam, in which lives of lakhs of people were devastated. By the time victims recovered from one flood-stricken situation, they were hit by another one. Several schools and homes were washed away, leaving many homeless.
Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care along with a London based NGO ‘Save the Children’ provided notebooks for school children in the afflicted areas, thereby facilitating the rehabilitation process.
Leh, the 'Tourist destination', became the destination for torrential rains and cloudbursts on 6th August, 2010.The lives of people in Leh were put through tremendous torture and hardship. A majority of all Government offices, hospitals and school buildings were destroyed.
SRLC – Emergency Relief Care provided thousands of books to the children of Leh to help towards their education.
On 7th August, 2006, Surat was afflicted by massive floods due to rains and the release of waters from the Ukai dam. Thousands of lives had been disrupted in Surat and all important services of the city had come to a standstill. A team of sevaks was sent to provide relief to the victims. Additional support was given to slum-dwellers by way of monthly food supplies and blankets.
India was the 3rd most severely affected country from the 2004 Tsunami. Killer waves of tsunami were triggered by an earthquake, the magnitude of which was 8.9 on the Richter scale on 26th December. Thousands of people and homes were washed off in Chennai. It was one of the biggest losses Chennai had ever witnessed. Relief work was undertaken in the form of house reconstruction and supplying clothing and food to the affected people.