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Art of Living provides need-based supplies

December 14
02:30 2015
Art of Living camp in Chennai

Art of Living camp in Chennai

Art of Living Foundation has come forward to provide relief to the thousands of people in Chennai hit by an unprecedented flood and torrential rains.

The city of Madras is limping back to normalcy after the disaster that killed more than 280 people and displaced and stranded half a million people. “The people’s homes are filled with river water and drainage. Nothing is usable. They have nothing left.” said Harish Gopalakrishnan, a volunteer with the AoL Foundation. “The immediate need is providing relief – and the challenge lies in coordinating relief efforts,” he said,

A number of volunteers of Art of Living group have been working tirelessly for the past many days providing relief to the flood affected victims and their families. The challenge is to ensure that the distribution of relief material reaches maximum and equitably to each family in the affected area. Many of Art of Living volunteers came across scenarios where a section of the people in the area could not get any relief materials as they were not aware of any measures being undertaken in their area or were left behind in the crowd. At the same time, some people took material supply multiple number of times. This was because there was no set process to ensure everyone gets in right proportion.

Citing a very recent example, when a truck load of relief material reached Kottupuram volunteers came up with a structured and enduring process of token system. They walked door to door gave tokens to each family ensuring every family gets to know of the relief material and gets a share. Bed-sheets, blankets, breads, fruits were distributed to more than 500 people.

Seeing their efforts, the Police came to help in the nearby area. They helped inform the people about the availability of material like milk, soaps, mosquito coils, match boxes, candles, biscuits, mats, sanitary napkins etc. This aided volunteers’ efforts to ensure distribution of relief material to everyone in the locality of around 2000 people.

In both the cases with the thoughtful effort of volunteers, support of police and cooperation of localities, relief material could evenly reach people who were in dire need. Art of Living has assured continuing their efforts till the hardship is removed.

The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) along with the Art of Living Foundation have initiated a rehabilitation project in Chennai with emphasis on trauma relief. “Aside of material needs, unless mental trauma is attended to, it is extremely difficult for the victims to cope, especially those who lost their homes, loved ones or livelihood,” said Madhu Kadari, IAHV treasurer.

The spirit of giving and assistance resonated across the globe as non-resident Indians came together, providing crucial communications and coordination for immediate relief and rescue efforts from several control rooms worldwide. “Our team responded early to the disaster creating a global volunteer Whatsapp group. It soon became our virtual global control center” said Abitha Narayanan, a volunteer with the Overseas Volunteer for a Better India.

“Rescue and relief requests received from Chennai, and from social media were funneled to the right action teams on the ground, making assistance available to the needy within a short time. NRIs across countries handled data collection, prioritization of requests and made direct calls for rescue and relief. We quickly partnered with many other NGOs with the single goal to aid Chennai,” Narayanan said.

Vinesh Virani

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