$8 Million in Aid for Survivors of Flash Flooding in North India
In June 2013, flash flooding and landslides devastated the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in the worst natural disaster since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. In an area that attracts 30 million pilgrims and tourists every year, nearly 6,000 people lost their lives, including many who had come to visit the Kedarnath Temple, one of Hinduism’s most revered shrines.
Our first team of volunteers reached the scene within days. By July 1st, 2013, our team—including doctors, nurses, and some of Amma’s monastic disciples—had set up a base camp at Agastya Muni in the hardest-hit Rudraprayag District.
More doctors, nurses, medics and other ETW volunteers joined the team, and an ambulance and telemedicine van from AIMS Hospital soon arrived on the scene as well. Our volunteers provided free medical consultations and medicine to approximately 8,000 disaster refugees in the first 20 days of July.
Aside from at the basecamp in Agastya Muni, our volunteers also traveled to a number of other villages to provide medical care, including Siddha Saur, Rudraprayag, Devli, Lambgondi, Andrewadi, Triyuginarayan, Toshi, Basukedar, Chandrapuri and Laksar.
But that was just the beginning. In September 2013, as part of Amma’s 60th birthday celebrations, we announced a relief package worth nearly $8 million (Rs. 500 million) to help survivors of the disaster get back on their feet.
As part of this aid package, we’ll build approximately 500 houses—everyone who lost a home in 42 villages in the districts of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi will get a new one. These homes will be built on common sites provided by the state government of Uttarakhand.
We will also be building centrally located schools and medical clinics to serve the disaster survivors. Impoverished children from these villages will be enrolled in our scholarship program. Widows as well as people with physical or developmental disabilities from these villages—as well as others in need of financial aid—will be enrolled in our lifetime financial aid program. We’ll also be expanding our womens' empowerment program to help women in the villages start small home-businesses. We’ll also build and run a children’s care-home in the area for children who no longer have a proper care structure in place.