Report on Uttaranchal relief work and Appeal by RSS trust Dehradun

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Uttaranchal Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti, Dehradun

Editor – This piece has two parts. One is a report by Sewa International team. Two appeal for Funds with details for those living in India and the U.S.

Present two reports by Sewa International Team who visited the flood affected areas.

Report dated 29th June 2013.

Total 15 centers are being run at different places: Rishikesh, Chamba, Dhansali, Joshimath, Karnprayag, Chamoli, Srinagar, Netwar, Haridwar, Dehradun, Pokhari, Dhatyud, Uttarkashi, Guptkashi, Maneri etc.

Types of Camps: Food distribution, medical camps, rescue assistance, transportation to safe places, helpline centres for relatives of yatrees, 

Approx 5000 volunteers are serving tirelessly in different areas including flood affected valleys and plains like Haridwar, Rishikesh, etc.

There are many places where roads are completely washed away. There is no way for the vehicular traffic to trade on. Volunteers have to walk kilometres together carrying the relief material on their backs. They are also crossing tough & high hills with the load of relief items, trying to reach far flung villages. 

In Chamba, there is a camp running since 22 June where approx 10,000 people are being provided food and medical treatment regularly.

Chamba is a place which is a junction which connects all four ways of Chardham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath). A huge shelter has been established in village Dikhol near Chamba where pilgrims are being provided food, medicine and everything they need.

Transport assistance provided to approx 8200 yatris from Uttarkashi & Chinyali Saudh to Rishikesh from 21st June to 24th June, by available vehicles: Bus, truck, car, sumo, jeep, tempo & police vehicles etc. 

Approx 200 villages are worst affected in the floods and some of them are totally washed out. Volunteers are trying their best to reach out to these villages/villagers and provide them initial relief.

Flood devastated villagers, who have been rendered shelterless, are being shifted to safer places and temporary shelters by Volunteers.

From the day 1 (16-June) till now 20 truckloads of relief material have been sent to flood affected areas from Dehradun alone that contains: pulses, rice, sugar, tea, spices, cloths, blankets, milk powder, water bottles, medicines, biscuits, and packed food etc. Material supplies from other centres like Rishikesh, Haridwar, etc are also being sent. Some of the camps above mentioned are being supported by various charity organizations with truckloads of raw food material. Even the civil supplies being supplied by the Uttarkhand Government is reaching our camps because paucity of Volunteers.

Army and Indo-Tibet Border Force personnel are being assisted by Volunteers in rescue operations and providing the personnel with food, shelter and all other possible necessary help.

Three teams from UDAPSS sent to three different locations, namely- 1.Badrinath-Hemkund Sahib, 2. Kedarnath & 3. Gangotri-Yamunotri- for surveying the area and assessing the loss of life and property. This will help is in planning the rehabilitation program.

The floods have also affected the schools, hostels run by UDAPSS, Vidya Bharati and other organizations in a big way which will surely affect the student population. One such major project which was established after the 1991 earthquake is located in Maneri (14 kms from Uttarkashi), Sewashram which is a school with residential facility. Twelve rooms of this hostel are washed away in this flood.

Remaining part of hostel has been converted to a relief camp (providing food, medicines, shelter) for needy people. Rotary Club and Azim Premji Club were impressed by the Sewa offered here by the dedicated volunteers and have supported this camp with relief materials. This camp was started on 18th June. This is the nearest location to Gangotri and people started streaming in soon after the floods. Till now 7500 pilgrims (including army soldiers) were provided food for 7 days round the clock.

Women from Bhubaneshwari Ashram have been actively volunteering here since the camp is established, supporting the camp with cooking food at Maneri Sewashram Camp. 

70 Houses in Joshiyada village were completely washed away, causing many casualties. Rotary Club donated 35 tents to affected families and our Volunteer team is providing them food, cloths, gas cylinders, medicines, blankets and all necessary items.

Report 2 as on July 1, 2013.

Three relief camps in Uttarkashi district are working round the clock – Maneri, Lakshyeswar and Naitawaar.

Dr. Nithyanandji, the octogenarian serving the community since last two decades in Maneri, stated that Maneri relief camp is the largest relief providing camp in the district- serving maximum number of affected.

Vasukedar village in Rudraprayag district has been totally washed away and needs total reconstruction. UDAPSS has provided tents, utensils and ration/eatables and home kits for the families as part of relief.

Volunteers in Gupta Kashi relief camp have identified various flood affected families in surrounding villages and are providing first aid, medicines, counselling, and relief material to 24 families in Lohanda village, 18 families in Tilanga village and 6 families in Dhanashu village. Apart from providing medicines, the volunteers are engaged in conducting acupressure and also conducting yoga & meditation classes as part of counselling.

Most of the survivors of the floods from villages are living with their relatives as they have lost their homes & hearts.

The volunteers serving in the Narayana Koti, Rudraprayag relief camp have identified 27 babies - 6 months to 4 years - who have been orphaned or are left with their lone mother or grandparents due to the floods. Volunteers have already provided some sort of service for the babies and are working on their appropriate rehabilitation.

Agricultural plots have been inundated with landslide mass due to avalanches destroying crops, rendering all these fields useless. Flood has taken toll of many farmers and bread earners in the villages. The villages are deserted and those left are seniors- old aged, widows and kids who cannot earn for themselves. Their rehabilitation is another major task ahead.

Middle school and High School students in the age group 10-16 had joined their fathers/elder brothers, assisting them in running shops or petty business, during their summer holidays. Their number is expected to be in couple of thousands and most of them are either dead or untraceable.

Youth and able bodied people- mostly between 19-30 years who were the bread winners for their families have been lost to the floods and livelihood will be the biggest challenge for the remaining members of the families.

Mules are the best means of transportation in the Himalayan ranges for transporting material & men. 12,000 mules (Horses) owned by 8000 owners were serving the flood affected areas before the floods. The floods have consumed more than 9,000 mules and 4,500 owners. The problem of transportation has become a Himalayan task due to this loss in those hilly areas.

The rehabilitation program will require experts in construction in Himalayan/hilly region for designing and constructing houses. Huge funding would be required for the proposed rehabilitation program in which houses, community centres, schools, clinics, etc will have to be reconstructed.

Doctors and health assistants are also needed in good number for reaching out to many flood affected villages. We would provide the details of requirements soon.

Volunteers from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and some other states are devoutly engaged in providing the relief to the flood affected in far flung villages. Volunteers would be required for the rehabilitation program in course of time and the need will be informed. Till then, please stay tuned in.

To see pictures of work
1. http://samvada.org/2013/news/day-35-photos-rss-swayamsevaks-in-relief-works-at-flood-hit-zones-of-uttarakhand/
2. http://samvada.org/2013/news/day-8-team-of-rss-swayamsevaks-working-on-relief-activities/