Uttarakhand Needs Your Help: Donate For Relief And Rehab Operations

Uttarakhand Needs Your Help: Donate For Relief And Rehab Operations
The Dhauliganga river in quieter times (Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • Your chance to contribute to the efforts of consoling and rebuilding the families devastated by the Chamoli tragedy in Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand needs you. Please support Sewa International's relief and rehabilitation operations in the area by donating to our fundraiser here.

As we write this appeal, Prem Singh (name changed for privacy) is in a state of shock.

In the morning of 7 February, he had a conversation with his son, Prakash Singh (name changed for privacy) about getting some biscuits for their family tea shack in the village, on his way back to home.

As usual, Prakash left the home for his job as a contractual labourer with NTPC in the morning.

A few hours later, Prem Singh heard the loud thumping sounds of the river nearby. It was as if an entire mountain had broken, and the ground was trembling reminiscing of the 2013 floods.

Within minutes, the river ferociously swept the village, ramming everything in her way with massive rocks of stone and ice. All this happened within a span of 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes of rage in the river and Prem Singh lost his son. Prakash Singh ji, along with hundreds of other workers, vanished from the dam site within seconds with the gushing river. His body was recovered a few hours later, at Rudraprayag by the NDRF team. His father, Prem Singh Ji is still unsure of what happened. He recalls:

“It was so quick… He was just there with me today morning. And he is no more...I don’t know how this happened..Why is God testing us.. Why us...”

His eyes swelled with tears, and his body shaking with the trauma of the impact.

Prakash ji has left behind his new-born daughter (eight months old), his wife, his parents, and his old-aged grandfather.

Prakash ji was the sole breadwinner of the family, working at the construction site of the NTPC dam. The dam had been built over the acquired farms, so there is no major landholding in the family too. His family runs a small tea-shack in the village, but it has been washed away too, taking all their shop investments too with it.

The family is not yet done mourning for their son, while they worry about their next few days’ of food and basic supplies.

Prem ji, in his 50s, is teary, sitting at the corner, thinking how will he rebuild his family now that their elder son is gone, and younger son still in school.

And Prem Singh is not alone in this period of deep despair.

We are surrounded by similar stories from the 300+ families affected by the flash floods, four of these families being of our own team members at Sewa International, leaving us in deep shock and grief.

While we had been working in the area for rehabilitation and development projects for more than six years now, the situation arising from the flash floods has shocked our team.

Our team is currently working on the ground-zero at Tapovan and Raini village area, and with the impacted communities of Uttarakhand. With over 30 dead, more than 200 missing and over 300 families losing their livelihoods, the damage of the glacier burst has shocked the entire state and the nation.

While the rescue operations for the missing people are still ongoing, non-stop for more than 40 hours now, Sewa International has started the relief operations with more than 120 on-ground volunteers providing health services, trauma counselling, food supplies, and helping the rescue teams with local knowledge.

Sewa International’s health team is travelling through the affected villages with services like ECG, X-Ray, pathology tests, and oxygen masks, with trained medical professionals providing instant support to the victims of the disaster. We are also providing medicines, and carrying people to nearby health centres as needed.

Our women team members are constantly spending time with the affected communities trying to provide solace and counselling to reduce their grief and bring back normalcy in their lives. With more than 40 affected villages, more than 60 team members are currently engaged in these services.

The connectivity to some affected villages have been completely lost, and our team is on their toes providing food packets, and other basic needs to these villages. Our field teams are constantly travelling through villages, working with the local administration to identify missing people and estimate the loss of infrastructure in the villages.

We are also preparing a list of possible rehabilitation programs in the area for long-term trauma counselling for the aggrieved, livestock support (goats, poultry etc) for immediate/reliable livelihoods, skill training for knitting, computers etc, and financial literacy for appropriate usage of any government grants in terms of running small sustainable businesses.

All these require your help and support!

Uttarakhand needs you. Please support our relief and rehabilitation operations in the area by donating to our fundraiser here.

Kumar Subham, Chief Operating Officer, Sewa International

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