|Source: Organiser |
The devastating earthquake in Sikkim on September 18 claimed the lives of about 100 people with majority of people killed in Sikkim, five in West Bengal and two in Bihar. The death toll continued to rise even as rescue and relief operations were stepped up in the affected areas for many days. The unofficial figure of dead is over 500. Thousands of people have also been injured in the 6.8 magnitude quake, which caused extensive damage to buildings and roads in Sikkim and several other places. The casualties in Sikkim have occurred mostly in North District and in towns and villages like Rangpo, Dikchu, Singtam and Chungthang located along the course of Teesta River. At least 20 aftershocks throughout the night had created panic in the city. The road network and telecommunication system has been adversely affected.
As usual the RSS swayamsevaks were first to reach in Chungthung, Jangu, Sibger of north Sikkim with primary relief material. About 17,000 houses were damaged and over one lakh became homeless in these areas.
According to Poorva Kshetra Pracharak of RSS, Shri Adwaita Dutt, a team of five RSS workers reached Sikkim on September 19 to conduct survey of the damage. Similarly, a team of 20 workers including Vibhag Pracharak Shri Badal Das, Zila Pracharak Shri Chandra Prakash Dhungel, Sah Prant Pracharak Shri Jaldhar Mahato and Prant Sewa Pramukh Shri Ajit Pal is helping the victims. The survey team visited Mangan, Chunthang, Jangu, Lachung, Yangthang, Sibager, Naga, etc. Primarily, the Uttar Bang Sewa Bharati has provided blankets, polythene sheet, rice, dal, vegetables and dry meals to the victims.
An important meeting was organised in Kolkata on September 24, in which Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Sitaram Kedilaya participated. The rescue operation was reviewed at the meeting and the ways and means to escalate the relief operation were discussed. Shri Kedilaya informed the workers that the people of entire country are ready to offer help to the victims. On September 25, Shri Kedilaya himself reached Sikkim and visited Mangan, Naga, Chungthang areas. He was accompanied by Prant Pracharak Shri Govind Ghosh and others. They also visited the families of some of the victims, including the family of a Sangh activist, Vinod who lost his life while saving the others.
According to Shri Neeren Bhandari, president of Sikkim Vastuhara Sahayata Samiti, the relief operation was going on in Singhtham. Vidya Bharati, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, VHP and some other RSS associated organisations are also actively helping in the relief operation. “We have requested the State government to allow us to rehabilitate several villages. We can start this work shortly if we get the permission,” said Shri Awaita Dutt while talking to Organiser in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, a team of senior BJP leaders comprising of former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and Rajya Sabha MP Shri Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, party general secretary Tapir Gaon and BJP National Executive Member Shri Indrasen Reddy visited Sikkim on September 25 and 26. On September 25, the team made an aerial and ground survey of all the affected areas in North Sikkim including Pegong, Chaten, Lachen, Lachung, Chungthang, Upper Dzongu and Mangan. In its report, the team stressed the need to press into action the Central Disaster Management Team for providing relief and rescue operations on a war footing. “We suggest that two to three helicopters should also be immediately engaged on daily basis to evacuate the affected persons from Dzongu, Chungthang, Lachen and Lachung,” the team said.
Those who wish to send any kind of help for the earthquake victims can directly send to Bastuhara Sahayata Samiti (Earthquake Relief Fund), Bank Account No 548002010005529, Union Bank of India, Branch Sevoke Road, Kolkata, RTGS/NEFT Code: UBIN0554804. The contribution will be eligible for exemption under Section 80G of the IT Act, 1961.
By Pramod Kumar
Help quake victims generously—Bhaiyaji Joshi
RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi appealed to the countrymen to help the earthquake victims generously. He said despite heavy rains, repeated landslides and other difficulties, the swayamsevaks are engaged in the rescue operation under the banner of Uttar Bang Sewa Bharati right from the next day of the calamity. “The victims need immediate help in the form of life saving things and health aid. The work has already been started in this regard. There is a need to send immediate help for the victims. The communication about permanent rehabilitation work will be sent later,” said Shri Joshi in his appeal.
Sewa USA releases $10,000 for victims
Sewa USA is releasing $10,000 towards Sikkim Earthquake Relief efforts as volunteers from Sewa’s sister organisations in India have started relief operations in severely damaged Northern Sikkim. President of Sewa International USA, Prof. Sreenath said 52 volunteers from Sewa Bharati have reached the places worst affected by the earthquake. Three teams of Sewa volunteers have setup a base in Chungthang in Northern Sikkim. The relief work is presently being coordinated from Siliguri in North Bengal.