Aid for families affected by Cyclone Ockhi continues
Februrary 12, 2018 - Trivandrum, Kerala, India
“Amma’s eyes keep welling up, as she feels the pain of the families in mourning,” shared Swami Amritaswarupananda, the Vice Chairman of Mata Amritanandamayi Math. “She can’t stop thinking of the grief of the wives who never got the closure of seeing their husbands’ bodies. She deeply wanted to help provide them assistance.”
As families continue to recover more than two months after Cyclone Ockhi, a cheque for $300,000 USD (Rs. 2 Crore) was given to the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, to contribute to the state’s special Ockhi relief fund.
Cyclone Ockhi was first declared on the surface of the sea between Sri Lanka and Kanyakumari, India on November 30, 2017 and was the most intense cyclone over the Arabian Sea since 2015. In the following days, Ockhi sped across the waters around Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshwadeep—ripping down coconut trees, destroying homes and power lines, and claiming the lives of fishermen who were out on the waters.
During the storm, government rescue operations trolled in boats and flew in helicopters through blasting winds, a piercing downpour, and raging waters. They used massive search lights to continue their work through the night. Hundreds of men were rescued, but many a time rescue teams came across bodies strewn over their boats. Many of the victims’ families were totally uprooted, having lost their loved ones as well as their security, food and shelter.
Amma immediately announced a package of $1,500 USD (Rs 100,000) for each family in which a fisherman had died. She also made a pledge to help rebuild houses destroyed by the cyclone. Next, Embracing the World mobilised food relief camps, often in conjunction with local churches. Free treatment for the injured was also offered at Amrita Hospital in Kochi.
Assessing the figures for the dead and the missing has been difficult after Cyclone Ockhi. As of February 4, records from the Disaster Management Division of India’s Ministry of Home Affairs say 75 lives were lost and 137 were missing in Kerala. In Tamil Nadu, 35 lives were lost and 199 people were reported missing.