August 2023 Mandi Flood Relief
Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, August 2023
India has a tropical climate and after the scorching summer the whole country eagerly awaits the monsoon rain. Yet, an over-abundance of monsoon rain can bring suffering as well. Such was the case when this year’s monsoon brought excessive rainfall that caused flooding in many states. One of the northern states of India, Himachal Pradesh, experienced severe flash floods and landslides. The Mandi district was particularly affected by the incessant rain that caused the Beas River and its tributaries to swell and overflow. This triggered landslides that blocked roads and displaced communities. Tens of thousands of people were stranded, and had to be evacuated from their home for some days.
Amid such challenging times, the local administration rallied to coordinate relief for the evacuated flood victims. Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) contacted the local administration to offer help. Mandi’s deputy collector requested 1,000 sets of relief materials with each set comprising food rations, candles, matchboxes, tarpaulins, blankets, and bedsheets. Presented with another opportunity to serve, VMRK responded swiftly with rapid action.
AUGUST 21 – 28
VMRK ARRANGED RELIEF MATERIALS FOR 8 VILLAGES IN MANDI
SACKS OF RELIEF MATERIALS ARRANGED AND DISTRIBUTED
SACKS FLOWN BY HELICOPTER & LOWERED BY ROPES INTO VILLAGES
SACKS DELIVERED BY VMRK VOLUNTEERS AFTER ROADS WERE CLEARED
On August 21, 2023 the VMRK center in Nawan Nagar immediately started sourcing the relief materials requested by the deputy collector. A team of volunteers then packed the food items into ration kits that included 5 kg atta, 1 kg chana dal, 2 kg rice, 1 liter cooking oil, 1 kg salt, 100 gm turmeric powder, and 100 gm chili powder. After the ration kits were packed, all the relief materials were loaded into 2 trucks that drove to Mandi on the afternoon of August 23, 2023. VMRK volunteers in the Mandi district were on hand to receive these trucks and coordinate delivery to the flood victims.
However, landslides had blocked many roads leading to the flood affected villages in the Mandi district. Since VMRK volunteers were unable to bring the relief materials to the flooded villages, the authorities brought in a helicopter to assist. The local administration advised that the relief materials had to be repacked into sacks for the helicopter to lower by rope into the villages. On August 25, VMRK volunteers repacked the relief materials into 1,000 sacks at the office of the local administration. From there, the sacks of relief materials were loaded into trucks, driven to the helipad, and then loaded onto the helicopter.
On August 26, the helicopter made 7 trips and delivered a total of 850 sacks of relief materials to 6 different villages. The sacks were lowered by ropes to the flood victims. Unfortunately, after 7 trips, bad weather conditions made it unsafe for the helicopter to continue flying. Therefore the operation was called off. Two days later, the roads to the 2 villages were cleared and VMRK volunteers were able to distribute the remaining 150 sacks to those 2 villages.
Arindam Chaudhary, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh sent a letter of appreciation noting VMRK’s contribution to the relief efforts provided to the communities in eight villages in remote hilly regions in the Mandi district.