Dehradun, June 21, 2013
After meeting the VHP / Hindu Help Line (HHL) teams in Dehradun & surrounding areas and after reviewing the situation while meeting the rescued & the relatives of the affected from other states & also locals from Uttarakhand, VHP International Working President Dr. Pravin Togadia informed the following systems set up for help:
- Those who are being rescued & brought down from the mountains by helicopters are landing at 3 places: a) Sahasradhaara 2) Jolly Grant ground – Dehradun 3) ONGC Helipad – Dehradun. VHP / Hindu Help Line have set up desks there to know exactly what the rescued need at that stage. These 3 places to have VHP / HHL stalls for Tea, snacks & basic medical help before they set out to their states.
- As the rescued land at these 3 places, they are already weak & have lost all their belongings & also in trauma. From these places, they will be helped with vehicles free by VHP / HHL to reach train station/airport/ bus stands as the case may be.
- The rescued do not have enough money to buy railway tickets. Govt is giving Rs 2500/- cash in hand for each family. If the family is of 5 people & from faraway places like South or West, east, etc, this amount does not buy tickets for all. VHP / HHL has set up centers at railway stations. Those who need help in buying tickets, the representatives are buying tickets for the stranded who want to go home.
- Some of the rescued are injured / weak / too old to travel alone or unaccompanied to their destinations. VHP / HHL is making arrangements of vehicles/ambulances for them free & also giving a volunteer along with them till their homes.
- From Gangotri to Gouri Kund & from Dharasu to Gupt Kashi there are people stranded/injured. VHP / HHL volunteers are at these places helping them with alternative routes under the guidance of the ITBP & army. Dr. Togadia did meetings with the volunteers & the Admin/officers to extend help jointly in these areas.
- Many rescued have been accommodated at VHP / HHL centers in Ashrams / Schools in Pipalkoti, Uttar Kashi, Rudra Prayag, Sahasrdhaara, Dehradun, Gangotri, Hrishikesh & Haridwar.
- Local villages in all these areas have been washed out. Many villagers who survived have given food, clothes to the pilgrims who came from other states. The pilgrims are now being evacuated fast & the villagers need help. VHP / HHL has set up teams with local persons to assess the exact things that they immediately need like food, water, medicines, clothes, etc.
- There is a situation at many places that those who had taken shelters in various jungle areas around Gouri Kund, Gupt Kashi, Gangotri have started by foot on their own. The routes they took are shaky, some of the roads they took have been washed out ahead of them & the route they took too has cracked behind them. They are stranded on a solitary patch of a cracked road. VHP / HHL are in touch with the admin to get such people immediately rescued as they have walked long with no food, water & many are injured. Volunteers too are trying to reach such groups stranded at various locations with food packets etc.
- Many temples have been saved but the surroundings are washed out. At many places the Pujaris (Pundits) of the temples too have been missing as they could have been taken away by the floods. VHP has demanded concrete help to their families as the Pundits were the only bread earners.
- Over 1000 traders & small shop keepers have been missing as the clusters of shops have been washed out fully. VHP is trying to locate them & also demanded compensation & jibs for their families.
- There were over 5000 ‘Pitthus’ (those who ferry pilgrims on their backs), 5000 mules along with at least one attendee with each mule & there were over 4000 ‘Palkis’ with 4 people with each Palki. Most of them are missing & the fear is that they might have been washed out in floods. VHP / HHL has started listing & locating them & also demanded substantial compensation to their families.
- Since June 17, 2013, VHP / HHL has started a service to locate missing people & over 1000 relatives of the missing have contacted VHP / HHL on email, 24 hrs call center & on FaceBook. Along with the Admin, they are being helped as much possible. Around 134 people have been located.
- Many temples have been damaged & need restoration after the people are helped & settled. VHP has appealed to the Union & all state Govts as well as Corporates & individuals to be generous in restoring the glory of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand. The same help is also needed in the rehabilitation of villagers in their own villages with their work/trades intact. If the 4 Dhaam pilgrimage cannot take place in full swing in the coming years, they will need concrete support. VHP / HHL appeals all to donate generously for this.
- Hindu help Line has been also posting info about rescued people on Hindu Help Line FB page & Hindu News Network FB page: www.facebook.com/pages/HHL-Hindu-Help-Line/133768866764910 and www.facebook.com/HinduNewsNetwork
- HHL has also appealed all to look up / post missing person’s details on www.google.org/personfinder/2013-uttrakhand-floods as HHL is posing some info on this new app too.
Appealing all to stand behind the Dev Bhoomi without politicizing the natural calamity tragedy, Dr Togadia offered that VHP / HHL should be a part of the ‘Rehabilitation & Restoration Committee’ which the Govts need to set up. He also suggested that rather than blaming a number of pilgrims for the tragedy, all Govts need to relook at the gigantic power & other projects on the rivers there cracking the strong Himalayan mountain ranges. He also offered to suggest & help in alternative sources of energy for the state. While demanding of the Govts to speed up the rescue work, he appealed all media, people & other not to indulge in blame game in the tragic times of the state as this is a national natural calamity where all need to stand together to help.
Hindu Help Line: email@example.com ; 24 X 7 call center 020-66803300 / 07588682181
Haridwar VHP: 0133-4221683
Govt of Uttarakhand: Disaster Management Unit: 0135 -2716201 / 2710925
Dehradun VHP: Mahendra Negi, VHP Uttarakhand Secretary: 097193 40055