Nov 6, 2008

Help for Orissa's Flood Affected

Mid September 2008, the torrential rains raised the level of Mahanadi River which was the already in spate. The river which has the Hirakund dam to contain it, exceeded the safe limits. Fearing the safety of the dam, some waters were released in the river. The angry river became dangerously boisterous with this release, and breached its banks at 40 places and flooded the surroundings. As a consequence, 17 districts of Orissa were submerged.

The floods forced the people to look for the safer pastures. There were some people who climbed the roof tops, but a lot of temporary houses and huts could not withstand the torrential flow were swept away. More than 50 people died. The worst affected districts were Jagatsingh Pur, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Puri. Because of floods, this eastern state lost about 0.5 million hectares of the paddy crop. In a state where agriculture was the only means of sustenance over the seventy percent of population, this was a huge disaster. 6,000 villages were affected by the flood. People cried out in distress and over 4 million people were directly affected by floods. Due to the dilapidated roads, the trucks were left in one place and the volunteers had to carry head and shoulder loads several kilometers to reach the affected people in the deep seated interiors. Fourteen hundred roads were broken. Life came to a standstill. In this hour of sadness and need, Dera Sacha Sauda rose to the occasion and arranged the relief materials. On the 1st October, 2008, Shah Satnam Ji Green 'S' welfare force wing volunteers started the survey. The surveyors had gone there on the special request of Deputy Collector of the Puri, Shri Bhaskar Singh Ji (DC); 30 volunteers went 200 kilometers away from Puri to the worst areas, for the survey. Due to the destruction, these areas were entirely cut off from the rest of the country; especially, the areas of Monida and Ramchandarpur in Delang. So, there were 25 villages that were designated as worst hit. In this block panchayat out of 2,365 houses, over 1,400 houses were destroyed by floods. Similarly in Block Kanas, it emerged in the survey that three panchayats were worst affected and needed an urgent assistance. This amounted to 19 villages in all. After surveying the two blocks, it was decided to help the 35,000 people in the worst affected areas. The people were to be given rice, pulses eatables, clothes etc. Because of the broken roads, there were too many challenges over come in organizing the distribution of aid. But all difficulties vanished in front of enthusiasm of the volunteers. In Orissa, Shah Satnam Ji Green 'S' welfare force wing, in the Kanas and Delang tehsil distributed aid to 9095 families in a total of 27 villages. They initiated their efforts from the Kanas where the 7 villages with 1,260 families were helped the standard ration kit of 5 kg of rice, 5 kgs of pulses, clothes etc. were distributed. The volunteers had to travel several kilometers on foot to reach there and there were no roads to be found. Following that, the volunteers proceeded to Dhankara and Purshotampura gram panchayat in Delang block and disbursed aid to over 6,00 families in the 20 villages. Everywhere, it was the same tale of despair and despondency. But the volunteers of Shah Satnam Ji Green 'S' Welfare Force wing pitched in with an enthusiasm and a wavering faith in God delivered under trying circumstances. This relief effort continued for the next 20 days.