Orissa Cyclone Relief, 1999
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.
Balaipur Panchayat (12 villages, total
population: 5,695) - Jagatsinghpur
Balituth Panchayat (6 villages, Total
population: 3,340) - Jagatsinghpur
Chatuwa Panchayat (11 villages, Total
population: 6358) - Jagatsinghpur
Dhinkia Panchayat (3 villages, Total
population : 9,261)-Jagatsinghpur
Garai panchayat (20 villages Total population:
11,920) - Jagatsinghpur
Japa Panchavat ( 1 village, Total population
: 985) - Jagatsinghpur
Nuagan Panchayat (1 village, Total population
:6,000) - Jagatsinghpur
Nuhadi Panchayat (4 village) - Jagatsinghpur
Garadpur Block (3 Villages, Total population:
1,050) - Kendrapara
Food - 59,774 kg
The Sanstha opened a kitchen in the village of Chakulia on 12th November. 600 people are catered for daily.
Helping to Prevent an
- 14,485 liters
Clothes - 55, 200 pieces
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.
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.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith