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BAPS Charities Uttarakhand (North India) Relief Efforts

The Disaster
India’s monsoon moved across the country with record speed this year as raging rivers, channeled by steep-sided and deforested valleys in the foothills of the Himalayas, washed away homes and vehicles. Pilgrims who were traveling to religious shrines in the Uttarakhand region were among those killed or left stranded. Uttaranchal state, which has a population of almost 10 million people, received unprecedented rainfall last month, causing rivers to burst their banks. The heaviest rains in the last 88 years resulted in large flashfloods and massive landslides. Entire villages and settlements were obliterated. A total of 4,200 villages were affected. This was India’s worst natural disaster since the tsunami in 2004.

Immediate Supplies
In the wake of the tragedy in the northern Indian state of Uttarkhand, BAPS Charities partnered with the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in India to provide relief to those affected by the floods and landslides caused by the heavy monsoon rains.

Immediately, food, blankets and other emergency supplies were sent from New Delhi to Uttarakhand for distribution to the victims.  Thereafter, following relief efforts were undertaken:

Awareness, Soliciting Donations and Support
BAPS Charities raised awareness about the devastation in Uttarakhand and solicited donations and support.  BAPS provided volunteers and dedicated its efforts to ensure that the resources were used in a manner to maximize effectiveness.

Survey, Organization & Assistance
Volunteers surveyed the impact of the floods and landslides and held extensive meetings with local officials, NGOs and other organizations. They worked with local NGOs to efficiently organize stocking of relief materials, creating inventory systems, developing workflow systems and establishing guidelines for relief aid. They also assisted other organizations in transporting, stocking and packing of various relief materials.

Sourcing, Transporting & Distributing Relief Kits and Supplies
Over 645 volunteers from BAPS in New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Uttarakhand worked tirelessly to source, pack, transport, organize and distribute over 8,500 kits including 60 tons of food and 50 tons household supplies. Despite the difficult terrains and the danger of landslides, volunteers and partners personally visited villages to distribute food rations and household supplies amongst over 30 villages. In total, 1200 tarpaulins, 230 tents and 14,252 blankets were provided for the homeless and needy. Thus, the kits met the immediate food, shelter and household needs of the afflicted.

 

  • Food Kits: Assembled, packed and distributed 8,500 kits totaling over 60 tons, including 24 food items: Wheat Flour, Rice, Pulses (Mung Dal, Chana, Chana Dal, Roasted Chana), Water Bottle, Oil & Ghee (Sarsav Oil, Cooking Oil & Ghee), Sugar & Jaggery, Snacks (Biscuits, Aloo Bhujiya, Mix Namkeen, Kurkure, Toasted Bread), Spice (Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, Dhana Jiru Powder, Muster Seeds), Salt, Tea, Milk Powder

 

Food Items

Qty

Wheat Flour

15 tons

Rice

12.5 tons

Pulses

9.8 tons

Water Bottles

6.8 tons

Oil & Ghee

3.4 tons

Sugar

3.1 tons

Snack

2.8 tons

Spice

2.5 tons

Tea

1.5 tons

Others

2.6 tons

  • Household Kits: Organized and distributed 50 tons of 38 relief items:
    Blankets, Flashlights, Batteries, Candles, Solar Lanterns, Bed Sheets, Match Sticks, Steel Plates, Steel Glasses, Steel Bowls (Small), Steel Spoons, Steel Pots, Steel Storage Bins, Sieve, Tongs, Primus Stoves, Gas Cylinders, Raincoats, Umbrellas, Shoes, Slippers, Towels, Napkins, Toothbrushes, Toothpastes, Tongue Cleaners, Soaps, Combs, Mirrors (small), Saris, Plastic Bags, Carton Boxes, Anti-mosquito Repellants

Household Items

Qty

Candles & Match Boxes

30,000

Blankets

14,252

Towels & Napkins

8,000

Steel Crockery

6,000 sets

Soap

4,000

Raincoats & Umbrellas

4,000

Footwear

3,983 pairs

Toothbrush, Toothpaste 
& Tongue Cleaners

3,000 sets

Cooking Utensils

3,000 sets

Bed Sheets

2,000

Plastics Bags & Boxes

2,000

Combs

2,000

Anti-Mosquito Repellant

2,000

Saris

2,000

Flashlights (Torches) with batteries

1,205

Primus Stoves

1,000

Mirrors

1,000

  • Shelter Supplies: Organized and distributed 1,200 tarpaulins and 230 tents for the homeless and needy

 

Provided Medical Relief & Counseling: Volunteer doctors conducted medical camps, offered medical counseling and treated over 200 victims. In addition, the volunteers provided and distributed over 77,685 free medicines and 1,665 first aid materials to needy patients, families and organizations.  Further, they distributed 50 medical relief kits to the medical personnel of effected villages and other organizations.

 

Relief Summary

  • Villages Supported: 

30 villages (Dists: Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Guptakashi, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Tharali, Chinyalisaur, Joshimath, Ukhimath)

  • Relief Provided to:          

2,140 families

  • Medical Relief:                

202 patients treated  in medical camps; 50 medical relief kits provided to 25 villages

  • Food Kits Supplied:

8,500 kits including 60 tons of 24 food items provided, packed and distributed

  • Household Kits Distributed:

50 tons of supplies with 38 relief items provided, organized & distributed

  • Shelters Provided:

1200 tarpaulins & 230 tents provided for the homeless and needy

  

Distribution Timeline

1 July 2013 – 500 Food Ration Kits at Guptakashi
500 food ration kits were delivered to a relief camp conducted by Parmarth Niketan at Guptakashi that distributed relief to 20 villages, including Kalimath, Ukimath, Triyuginarayan, Sonprayag, Fata, Augustmuni, Gaurikund and Ramada.

3 July 2013 – 4,000 Food & Survival Ration Kits
Relief materials were meticulously packed (10 kg – 1,000 kits, 5kg – 1,000 kits and 1 kg – 2,000 kits) and dispatched through 3 trucks with cremation material (ghee, wood, etc).

4-8 July 2013 – 1,500 Food Ration Kits
For the needy and distraught, 1,500 food ration kits were distributed in Guptakashi and over 20 villages surrounding Guptakashi.

12 July 2013 – 2,000 Food & Household Kits
Over 2,000 Food & Household Ration Kits were distributed amongst the following 10 villages: Bageshwar, Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Tharali, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chinyalisaur, Joshimath, Ukhimath, Guptkashi

13-15 July 2013
Trucks with relief materials and a team of volunteers maneuvered through difficult terrain to reach Ujeli village. Volunteers set up camp at Ujeli. Distribution logistics were discussed with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and volunteers quickly surveyed Bandarkot and other neighboring villages to assess the focus area, with the help of the village ‘pradhans.’ Relief supplies were then loaded and trucked to Matali.

15 July 2013 onwards

Relief Distribution & Medical Camp at Devla-Bandarkot, Uttarakhand
A relief camp was set up at Devla-Bandarkot, Uttarakhand. Registration of the victims was done at an upper level while the relief truck was parked on the lower main road. The village head assisted the relief team to verify the identity of the villagers according to their ration cards and below-poverty-line (BPL) cards. After their registration, victims were given a relief card whereby they could receive their relief supplies. The entire village of 68 families was offered relief supplies and rations kits, and given a medical checkup and treatment. Thanks to the police and local agencies, efficient logistical support and safe protection during the distribution was ensured.

Relief Distribution & Medical Camp at Athali, Uttarakhand
Another relief camp was conducted at the opposite shores of the disconnected village of Athali. Due to severe flooding, Athali’s only access was possible by crossing the volatile Bhagirathi River on a single manual trolley bridge that could only accommodate two people or 80kg. Since it was impractical to take relief materials and volunteers across to the village, Athali villagers lined up on the village side and patiently crossed over the river on the trolley to receive relief aid. The relief camp was held near a roadside Shiva Mandir.  The village pradhan (head) assisted in identifying the villagers according to their ration cards. Overall, 40 families from Athali and 5 families from the neighboring Barsali village were offered relief kits and given medical treatment for their ailments.

BAPS Relief Team: 643 dedicated volunteers

  1. Procurement, Packing & Transport: 600 Part-Time Volunteers
  2. Logistics & Distribution   : 23 Full-Time Volunteers
  3. Administration & Support: 20 Full-Time Volunteers

 

Relief Partners and Support Organizations

  1. BAPS Charities, North America | bapscharities.org
  2. BAPS Charities, UK | bapscharities.org.uk
  3. Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
  4. Govt of India, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Uttarkashi
  5. Government of Gujarat
  6. Gadhwal Maitra Sabha
  7. SAMARTH, New Delhi

     

 Appreciation
“We are happy that BAPS and its volunteers are here, working with us for the Uttarakhand relief. By them participating, our organization is benefiting and is being guided by their experience, discipline and efficiency.”

–     H H Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj,
      President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram
      Rishikesh, India

Village heads, called ‘Pradhan’, were extremely appreciative of volunteers’ genuine efforts and spirit of service while conducting their relief efforts. Mr Sandeep Panwar, Pradhan of Gram Panchayat – Athali, Uttarakandh, said, “(BAPS Volunteers) coming to our village and going to each and every house and understanding our necessities was very vital for us. We truly appreciate their kind efforts.”

Highlighting the efforts by relief volunteers, Mr. Satyendra Ukashi, relief volunteer of Uttarkashi’s Vishwanath Sanskrit Mahavidyal, said, “(We were) highly impressed by BAPS volunteers’ level of detailing in terms of execution, practical decision-making and documentation.”