July 2023 North India Flood Relief
North India, July 2023
During the month of July 2023, heavy monsoon rains caused severe flooding and landslides in many states in northern India. The deluge affected many people living in low-lying areas and along river banks. Inspired by Sant Baljit Singh Ji’s teachings about selfless service, Vishav Manav Ruhani Kendra (VMRK) offered flood relief charitable services in the Union Territory Delhi and the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab.
On July 9, 2023, Delhi was deluged with 153 millimeters (6 inches) of rain. This was the highest rainfall in a single day in July in over 40 years. The next day, the Yamuna River that flows through Delhi, breached the safety mark set for the Delhi area. Authorities evacuated people living in low-lying areas and along river banks, and relocated them to safer temporary accommodation.
The sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Mayur Vihar in Delhi informed that food was needed for 8,700 flood victims who had been evacuated. These evacuees had been relocated to relief camps set up at Nursery Pushta and DND Pushta, as well as the Rainy Well Shelter Home. VMRK immediately started preparations to cook the evening meals for the flood victims for the next seven days.
JULY 28 – AUGUST 3
VMRK DELHI PREPARED AND DISTRIBUTED FOOD
FLOOD VICTIMS AT SHELTER HOME AND RELIEF CAMPS
VMRK VOLUNTEERS PARTICIPATED IN THIS EFFORT
The VMRK team also began setting up free food distribution points at the relief camps and near the shelter home. VMRK prioritizes road safety and avoids arranging activities on the roadside that could expose people to oncoming traffic. Therefore, the local administration closed the nearest road and designated the stretch of road for VMRK to set up the food distribution counters.
From July 28 to August 3, 2023, VMRK volunteers served chapati, rice, dal, and seasonal vegetables as well as puri and potato subji. Each evening, the food distribution was scheduled from 4.30pm to 8.30pm, yet VMRK volunteers always continued to distribute until the last person in the queue was served.
150 VMRK volunteers participated in this effort. Three VRMK centers—VMRK Nilothi, VMRK Bhalswa Dairy, and VMRK Karawal Nagar—prepared the large quantities of chapati needed. The other food items served were prepared at the local Gurudwara. The local authorities and flood victims appreciated the quality of the food offered.
Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
During the monsoon season, torrential rainfall cascaded into Yamuna River, bursting its banks and flooding Mathura city. Some parts of the city were submerged 20 feet deep. Areas near Jai Singh Pura in Mathura city were also flooded with up to 10 feet of water.
The local administration rescued the victims from flood affected areas and quickly declared four locations as relief camps. One of them was the VMRK center at Jai Singh Pura. The center is located at a safe distance from the Yamuna River. From July 17 – 21, 2023 VMRK operated the Jai Singh Pura center as a relief camp for the flood victims.
JULY 17 – 21
VMRK JAI SINGH PURA OPERATED AS A RELIEF CAMP
FLOOD VICTIMS WERE SHELTERED
VMRK VOLUNTEERS SERVED AT THIS CAMP
Around 1,200 flood victims were brought to the center. A team of 80 VMRK volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure a safe, clean, and hygienic environment. VMRK cooked and served wholesome vegetarian meals of daliya, poha, khichdi and tea for breakfast; and chapati, rice, dal and vegetables for lunch and dinner. Breakfast and dinner were served to around 1,200 people daily. Lunch was served to 1,000 people, fewer than breakfast and dinner since some left the center to go to work during the day. The center also provided accommodation facilities including clean mattresses, bedsheets, and hygienic washrooms.
Local administration officials were present throughout the day during this period. They asked and reminded the camp residents to abide by the center’s guidelines to preserve the sanctity of the center.
The slums in the Surajpur village in Pinjore Tehsil, District Panchkula lie on the banks of the river Kaushalya. The flooding affected around 700 houses of which 70 houses were completely washed away in the river. The local administration evacuated all the people affected by the flooding and provided shelter in the Apple Mandi (apple market) located near HMT Pinjore.
The local administration and sub-divisional magistrate of Kalka requested VMRK to provide cooked dinner to all the people staying at the shelter facility. From July 13 – 31, VMRK provided chapati, rice and dal as requested by the local administration. The volunteers at the VMRK center at Burj Kotian prepared, packed, and loaded the food onto pick-up trucks. Then the volunteers from the VMRK center in Kalka distributed the packed food to the flood affected people. Once the water started to retreat, the families started to leave the shelter facility to return to their homes. Around 200 – 300 people remained at the camp before leaving on July 31, after which the camp wound up.
JULY 13 – 31
VMRK BURJ KOTIAN PREPARED WHOLESOME FOOD
FAMILIES EVACUATED FROM SURAJPUR
VOLUNTEERS FROM VMRK KALKA DISTRIBUTED THE FOOD
Nawan Nagar, Haryana
The Sarsa River flows next to the VMRK center in Nawan Nagar. On July 9, the heavy and incessant rain caused the river to overflow. The huts in the slum areas situated on the banks of the river became uninhabitable from the flooding. VMRK provided a large waterproof tent as temporary shelter for the flood victims and distributed two blankets to each family.
Around 150 people from 80 families stayed at this shelter facility. VMRK also provided wholesome vegetarian food to them three times daily. The meals consisted of daliya, khichdi, poha, and tea for breakfast; chapati, rice and dal for lunch; and chapati and seasonal vegetables for dinner. This continued until the water receded and the people returned to their homes on July 25.
JULY 9 – 25
VMRK NAWAN NAGAR SERVED FOOD, PROVIDED SHELTER AND BLANKETS
FLOOD VICTIMS FROM 80 FAMILIES
LARGE WATERPROOF TENT USED AS TEMPORARY HOUSING
On July 9, 2023, the local municipal councilor requested the VMRK center in Nawanshahr to provide shelter to people affected by flooding in the Kalran colony and Guru Tegbhadur Nagar areas in Nawanshahr. The VMRK center is situated about 1.5 kilometers from the flooded area.
Immediately, VMRK volunteers went to the flooded area to help evacuate the flood victims from their homes. VMRK volunteers safely brought the elderly and children out of their inundated homes, and helped families salvage their precious belongings. Around 80 people were transferred that night to the VMRK center at Nawanshahr. On arrival, they were given shelter and food. More people were brought to the center throughout the next day, and the number increased to 200. All their homes and belongings had been badly damaged by the flood.
JULY 9 – 14
VMRK NAWANSHAHR OPERATED AS RELIEF CAMP
FLOOD VICTIMS WERE SHELTERED
VMRK VOLUNTEERS SERVED AT THIS CAMP
VMRK prepared and served wholesome vegetarian meals to the flood victims. They were offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner which consisted of tea, chapati, rice, dal, and seasonal vegetables. The flood victims who stayed at the center were provided clean mattresses, bedsheets, and hygienic washrooms.
Afer a few days, the flood water started to recede and on July 14, all the flood victims returned to their homes. They expressed heartfelt thanks to the team of 15 VMRK volunteers who worked round the clock to help them during this very difficult period.