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Orissa Cyclone Relief, 1999
  • 20,000 people and 700,000 cattle died.
  • 90 million trees have been uprooted or damaged.
  • 20 million people were made homeless
  • 5 million farmers are out of work
  • 1.2 million hectares of standing cropland were destroyed.

Truck filled with  emergency supplies

Youths sort out clothes and other supplies at Calcutta Mandir

Sadhus distributing aid to the victims

Sadhus and volunteers survey the damage caused by the floods

Preventing spread of disease by treating the remains of dead cattle

Sadhus cremate the dead

Preventing spread of disease

On 29th of October 1999, a terrifying cyclone emerged from the Bay of bengal. With winds up to 300 km/h and 30 feet tidal waves, it thrashed and terrorized the state of Orissa for more than 36 hours. Returning back to the sea, it left behind a trail of untold devastation - the worst in the history of India.

Hearing about Orissa's devastation in Gujarat, His Holiness Pramukh swami Maharaj, immediately instructed the Sanstha's Calcutta center to begin relief work.

After gathering essential relief materials, the Sanstha's team of sadhus and volunteers was one of the first relief terms to arrive in Orissa. The team of 280 sadhus, doctors and volunteers have been working round the clock since then, helping victims in two of the worst affected areas - Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara.

Since 2nd November, 19, truckloads of relief supplies full of foodstuff, cloths, medicines, tents and stoves have been rushed with professional doctors and organisers. Even today our team is still there.

Villages helped: 84
Andhari Panchayat (14 villages, total population: 8,023) - Jagatsinghpur
Andhari- wards 1, 2, & 3 (900), Bada Billari (150), Baulapura (450), Bhitari - Andhari (1069), Bholpada (529), Guwamunda- wards 1 & 2 (900), Jalao- wards 1 & 2 (700). Jamukan (harijan) (350), Jamukan (Savarna) (325), Kodakana (400), Nava Ratanapur (500), Potak (harijan + Savarna) (350), Rasakdapur - wards 1 & 2 (700), Uchanawaga - wards 1 & 2 (700).

Balaipur Panchayat (12 villages, total population: 5,695) - Jagatsinghpur
Badhaipur - wards 1 & 2 (630), Baniapt-wards 1 & 2 (550), Barbatia (400), Billa Pokhyariapada (200), Chakulia (450), Danda Sahi (450),Digitaria - wards 1 & 2 (550), Gurugudia (450), Junamath (355), Nalkani (660), Singipur (450), Tantia (550).

Balituth Panchayat (6 villages, Total population: 3,340) - Jagatsinghpur
Aligarh (552), Baragpur (750), Balituth (1008), Bhitari Shri Chandrapur (300), Mulkani (300), Sanagpur (400).

Chatuwa Panchayat (11 villages, Total population: 6358) - Jagatsinghpur
Chattuv (Harijan) (1108), Chattuva (Pathanshahi) (400). Janardanpur (Arjun Kund) (400). Janardanpur (Jhailya) (500), Manpur-wards 9, 10, 11 & 12 (1350), Nachipur (1100), Narendrapur (200), Panjarkoti, Parapada (400), Pokhariapada (500), Samantrapur (400).

Dhinkia Panchayat (3 villages, Total population : 9,261)-Jagatsinghpur
Dhinkia (3963), Govindipur (2661), Trilochanpur (2637).

Gadkujang Panchayat (2 Villages, Total population: 2,183)- Jagatsinghpur
Gadkujang(1910), Polanga(273)

Garai panchayat (20 villages Total population: 11,920) - Jagatsinghpur
Bailo (300), Bharda Shahi (500), Bhat Shahi (500), Bharamar Kola (1700). Bila Shahi(300), Chandapat (500), Dardia (550), Dardia (Harijan) (150), Gabhadi (450), Garai (900), Kath Muffa (800), Kothia Shahi (250), Lathang (950), Naliyapad (350), Okala (1000), Parellia (1200), Pota Nahi (600), Repur Bali Patna (800), Shashan (870), Siord (500) Total Shahi (300).

Japa Panchavat ( 1 village, Total population : 985) - Jagatsinghpur
Erivina (985)

Kunjkothi Panchayat (5 villages Total population: 6,612) - Jagatsinghpur

Bhejiwari - ward 11 (345), Kanagoli (3005), Khurant - wards 16 to 22 (600), Kunjkothi - wards 13, 14 & 15 (1964), Pachera -wards(239).

Nuagan Panchayat (1 village, Total population :6,000) - Jagatsinghpur
Bhat Shahi, Billa Shahi, Chandanpur, Dhalipanga, Dhunwa Shahi, Gajanidharpur, Fatahpur, Hat Shahi, Kiadingi, Mahimadevpur, Mallipura, Mirzapur, Nuhadi, Paik Shahi.

Nuhadi Panchayat (4 village) - Jagatsinghpur
Bhat Shahi, Billa Shahi, Chandanpur, Nuhadi

Panduva Panchayat (1 village, population :255) - Jagatsinghpur
Dhusal (255)

Extra Villages in Jagatsinghpur (Total population: 1140)

Manijanga (440), Pollanga (700)

Garadpur Block (3 Villages, Total population: 1,050) - Kendrapara
Basupur (250), Nankar (300), Shrutipur (500),
People Benefited: more than 32,600 individuals
Relief Materials Distributed:











Food - 59,774 kg

Rice - 31,200 kg Flattened Rice - 6,535 kg Gud (Jaggery) 15,500 Kg
Salt - 10,000 kg Ghee - 13,600 kg Potatoes - 5,220 kg
Biscuits - 655 kg Dal - 3,520 Kg Tea - 1,700 kg
Sugar - 2,700 kg Milk Powder - 9,400 kg

The Sanstha opened a kitchen in the village of Chakulia on 12th November. 600 people are catered for daily.

The Sanstha's volunteer doctors have so far visited 32 villages in the Erasama and Kujanga Blocks of Jagatsinghpur. Till now, 47 medical camps have been organized in which more than 3507 patients suffering from acute diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, flu, foot fungus and severe gastric problems have been treated.
Medical materials provided include:

Water purifying tablets - 2,50,000 Tablets - 1,75,000 (for fever, vomiting, dearrhoea, etc.
Tetanus injections - 2,000 Electrolyte powder - 4,200 pkts
Syringes with needles - 29,700 Scalp vein sets for saline - 20,605
Antiseptic tubes - 2,000

Helping to Prevent an Epidemic
With the magnitude of the devastation, an epidemic was inevitable. The Sanstha sent its volunteers to 30 flooded village, to treat them with 2000 kg. of disinfectant poder and prevent an outbreak of deadly diseases.

To help the villagers reach normal life quickly; the Sansha has also provided household materials. Household materials distributed include:

Plastic Tarpaulin (9 * 12) - 1505 pieces Kerosene stoves - 250 pieces
Cooking utensils - 3210 Kerosene lamps - 1800 pieces
Blankets - 800 Plastic Sheets - 200 pieces
Candles - 16,300 Match Boxes - 5300
Buckets -100 pieces  

Kerosene - 14,485 liters
Kerosene distributed in the following panchayats :

Anderi -1650 litres Badiapur - 2350 litres Balitud - 2200 litres
Chatuwa - 2825 litres Garai - 4300 litres Kunjkothi - 920
Nuhadi - 870 litres Extra - 720 litres

Clothes - 55, 200 pieces

Shirts - 8700 Trousers - 5800 T-Shirts - 2200
Ganjis - 3100 ¨Lungis - 6150 Sarees - 6000
Gamcha - 3750 Undergarments - 1900 Dresses - 2100
Kid's wear - 8400 Shorts - 1000 Shawls - 500
Dhotias - 1500 Salwar Khamis - 3200 Woollen Clothes - 900

The Sanstha has also provided 2000 kg of bleaching powder, treating 30 villages to prevent a break out of deadly diseases.

300 kg of cattle feed has been given to farmers with cattle.

The BAPS team is also helping to cremate the dead. So far, volunteers have performed 160 cremations for people and have treated more 1500 cattle carcasses with bleaching powder.

Offering Pitru-tarpan Yagna (Saints offering prayers for the salvation of the dead)On Monday, 6 December 1999, a special "Pitru Tarpan Yagna" was held in the village of Chakulia in the Erasama Block of Jagatsinghpur. The purpose of the Vedic Yagna was to offer special prayers for those who had died in the devastating cyclone, a special request by the villagers.

More than 6000 people from around 40 villages had participated. The vedie ceremony, performed by the Sanstha's sadhus, began at 9:30 in the morning. A beautiful Yagna Kund had been prepared by the women folk of the village. Family members of the dead took special place in the yagna. During the yagna, special prayers were offered by all, according to their faith.

At 12:00 noon, special bhajans were sung by the village folk who had gathered. After the yagna concluded at 2:00 p.m., mahaprasad was served to everyone.

Many villagers who had participated in the yagna commented, "Although our family members have died a terrible death their souls will now find permanent peace after this yagna".

BAPS is mobilizing more force and resources for its on-going relief work and rehabilitation of people.

Educational Help
More than 20,000 schools were destroyed or damaged by the cyclone. Taking note of the plight and to ensure that education is not lost, the Sanstha will construct 2 schools, each having 8 classrooms, an office and playground for class 5 to 10 students. An estimated 660 children will be accommodated. The Sanstha as requested by the District Collector: Mr. S. Mohanty will also repair an additional 11 schools in the district.

With Board examinations in March for Class 7 and 10 students in Orissa, the Sanstha has already started helping school children prepare well for their exams by providing educational materials like notebooks, pens and TBW examination guides to 2,900 students studying in 21 schools in the Erasama Block of Jagatsinghpur.

  • A4 size Notebooks - 2917
  • TBW Exam Guides for class 7 students - 400
  • Pens - 550
  • TBW Exam Guides for class 10 students - 400

Agricultural Help
Along with the cyclone, ocean water flooded more than 480 kilometres of coastal area, poisoning every farmable land with salt. Roughly 1.2 million hectares of standing cropland were destroyed; placing 5 million farmers out of work. Furthermore, with 700,000 cattle dead, there is an extreme shortage of bullocks for ploughing. To save these people from poverty and to help them rebuild their livelihoods, the Sanstha provided the farmers with a tractor on 10th February 2000. Using the tractor, the farmers will remove the poisoned topsoil and plough their fields in preparation for sowing.

Out of Erasama's 200 villages, 35 villages had been completely wiped out. More than 20 million people had been left homeless. With no shelter or livelihoods, survival was a question. BAPS started concentrating on a long-term rehabilitation of the neediest and most vulnerable in the Erasama Block of Jagatsinghpur. The Sanstha proposed to ensure survival and security of these victims by rebuilding their homes, schools and livelihoods.

Under the Sanstha's programme of rehabilitation sanctioned by the Special Relief Commissioner of Orissa, Sri A. K. Tripathy and the Jagatsinghpur District Collector, Sri S. Mohanty, 2 devastated villages: Chakulia and Bada Billari in Erasama (Jagatsinghpur) were adopted by the Sanstha. A mammoth task of total rehabilitation of both villages commenced with construction of a school and cyclone-proof houses for every family in Chakulia. 100 cyclone proof houses, measuring 16 x 16 with kitchen and bathroom, will be constructed by the Sanstha's team of sadhus and qualified engineers, lead by Sadhu Purushottamjivandas, Sadhu Purnaprakashdas and Mr. Sanjay Kacha. The houses are especially designed to withstand future cyclones of similar magnitudes.

On Thursday, 10th February 2000, the auspicious day of Vasant Panchmi and Sarasvati Pooja, the Foundation Stone was laid, with the chants of Vedic mantras, for the first of 64 homes to be built in the village of Chakulia. Thereafter, the Sanstha will construct the remaining 36 houses in Bada Billari.

Organising & Managing Relief Distributions of Other Organisations
The fact is well known that The Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha is a well organised and managed establishment. Seeing the Sanstha's relief work in Orissa, Sant Baba Man Singhji of Pehowa Wala - Haryana, approached the Sanstha to organise and manage their relief distribution.

BAPS team of sadhus and volunteers organised and managed the distribution of Sant Baba Man Singhji's relief materials in 260 villages of Jagatsinghpur, helping 159,850 individuals.


"Your organisation is massive. Every volunteer in dedication, disciplined and devoted to the cause. Every sadhu and volunteer is educated. Some are doctors and engineers. If it wasn't for your organisation, we would not have been able to distributed our relief materials here."
Sant Baba Man Singhji, (Pehowa Wala - Haryana)

"I am really happy to learn that the Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha has come forward to help the distressed people of Orissa. I feel proud that a voluntary organisation like yours has done commendable work in alleviating the suffering of the people of Orissa and provided a package of relief. May God bless all your volunteers.
Keshubhai Patel (Hon. Chief Minister, Gujarat)

"We can not rule out the fact that your organisation was one of the very first to reach the most devastated area in Orissa. Your organising capabilities and heart to serve people of every caste, creed and community in the most remote parts of Jagatsinghpur are praise worthy."
Navin Chandra Das, (Hon. State Minister of Commerce, Orissa)

"Your Sanstha has done tremendous work here. I am all praises."
Shri Rameshbhai Oza, (Eminent Bhagwat Kathakar)

"Your Sanstha is doing a wonderful job here.... I thank you all for helping our state and people in this hour of crisis."
Dr. Giridhar Gamang, (Hon. Chief Minister, Orissa)

"We gratefully acknowledge your magnificent contribution in helping the cyclone affected people of Orissa in the Jagatsinghpur district to regain normalcy after a traumatic experince. We wish you all success in all your future endeavours."
Niten Chandra, Collector of Jagatsinghpur, Orissa

"We gratefully acknowledge your timely help in providing relief and succour to the people of the cyclone affected Jagatsinghpur District of Orissa. Your service has helped the people to overcome their trauma and grief."
L. Kindo, Relief Commissioner Incharge, Cuttack, Orissa

"We acknowledge the service rendered by the Sanstha to the people of the cyclone devastated Jagatsinghpur District of Orissa. The Swamis and volunteers of the organization have distributed love and affection along with relief materials, thus touching the hearts of one and all. Your effect has raised hope among the devastated and will go a long way in helping them rebuild themselves."
Y.K. Jethwa, Add. Commissioner of Transport (Enf.), Cuttack, S.T.A. Orissa

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith