Disaster Management

Ardh Kumbh, Haridwar, Uttarakhand

On 16th and 17th of June 2013, very heavy rainfall and resultant flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand led to a massive natural disaster. The disaster coincided with the peak tourist and pilgrimage session in the region. This was a critical factor which led to the increase in the number of casualty. It also adversely effected the rescue and relief operation as the government agencies were more focused in the rescue operations in the initial phases after the natural calamity had struck. As per the official estimates, more than nine million people were affected by the flash floods. It is estimated that 169 people died and 4021 went missing (presumed to be dead) in this disaster. Total 4200 villages were adversely effected and 2513 number of houses were completely damaged in the calamity.

Severe scarcity of ration and other essential items were felt in a number of effected villages as their contact with main land was broken off due to large scale damage to the motorable roads.. In such a situation, Shirdi Sai Global Foundation (SSGF), Gurgaon and other similar organisations augmented the Government’s effort and took upon themselves the onus of starting the relief and rehabilitation works among the effected populace at the grass root level.

Under the leadership and guidance of the SSGF, other organisations viz. Sai Ka Aangan (Gurgaon), Sai Karuna Dham (Sector-61, Noida), Shirdi Sai Temple (Moradabad), Shirdi Sai Temple (Allahabad), Sai Charan Temple (Laxmi Nager, Delhi) and Shirdi Sai Temple (Dandi, Uttarakhand) joined hands and thus began a well-planned and coordinated effort to provide relief and rehabilitation to some of the affected areas.

After considered deliberations based on available information the location, scale of relief operations and other modalities were finalized from 23rd to 25th June, 2013. The Shirdi Sai Temple, Dandi, Uttarakhand was decided to be the main centre from where the project was coordinated.

Since many of the people who lived in areas affected by the disaster had been rendered homeless the objective was to help them sustain through rough weather conditions, dearth of food, water and shelter, Therefore, it was decided to provide the affected families with water-proof tents, rain coats, rubber shoes, cooking utensils, blankets, clothes and food.

A major concern was the possibility of spread of an epidemic. After consultations with specialist doctors, a large quantity of medicines were also sent. An ambulance was kept on standby to attend to emergencies.

The relief and rehabilitation operation were focussed around Valmiki Basti, Shakti Vihar and ITI Colony of Srinagar District and Ganga Nagar, Falai and Chandrapuri villages of August Muni block.

At a point of high altitude near Uttarkashi, the volunteers from the Foundation also assisted the 5th Sikh Regiment of Indian Army in relief work, who helped the Foundation distribute the material brought by the volunteers and also lauded the arduous efforts taken up by the Foundation in reaching out to the difficult terrains. The efforts of Foundation was also appreciated by the local civil administration.

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