New Delhi, June 29: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which has been rendering yeoman’s service to the calamity struck thousands of hapless pilgrims at Uttarakhand has so far opened 15 centers to provide the much needed succor to them.
According to a release issued by Sewa International these centers are located at Rishikesh, Chamba, Dhansali, Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Chamoli, Srinagar, Netwar, Haridwar, Dehradun, Pokhari, Dhatyud, Uttarkashi, Guptkashi, and Maneri.
Through these camps thousands of RSS activists are providing food, medicines besides assisting in rescue operations, transporting the people to safer places and running helpline cnetres for the relatives of the pilgrims, the release said. Approximately, the number of such activists is 5000 who are relentlessly working in different areas including flood affected valleys and plains like Haridwar, Rishikesh etc.
There are many places where roads were completely washed away blocking any kind of vehicular traffic. Volunteers have to walk kilometers together carrying the relief material on their backs. They are also crossing the tough and high hilly terrain with the load of relief material, trying to reach out the far flung villages.
In Chamba there is a relief camp since June 22 housing approximately 10,000 people who are being served food and medical treatment regularly. Chamba is a place at the junction connecting all four ways of Chardham yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath). A huge shelter has been erected in village Dikhol where the stranded pilgrims are being provided food, medicine and everything they need.
Transport assistance is provided to 8200 pilgrims from uttarkashi and Chinyali Saudh to Rishikesh from June 21 to 24, by all available vehicles including trucks, buses, cars, sumos, jeeps, tempos and police vehicles.
Nearly 200 villages are worst affected in the floods and some of them have totally been washed away. Volunteers are trying their best to reach out to these villages and villagers and provide them the initial help and relief. The villagers of flood-ravages villagers who are rendered homeless, are being shifted to safer places and temporary shelters by the RSS volunteers.
From June 16 the day misfortune struck the Uttaranchal pilgrimage till today the RSS volunteers have dispatched 20 truckloads of relief material to flood affected areas from Dehradun alone. The material contained pulses, rice, sugar, tea, spices, clothes, blankets, milk powder, water bottles, medicines, biscuits, and packed food etc.
Material supplies from other centres like Rishikesh, Haridwar, etc. are also being sent. Some of the camps are being supported by various charity organizations with truckloads of raw food material. Even the civil supplies being supplied by the Uttarakhand government are reaching RSS camps because of the paucity of volunteers.
Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel are being assisted by RSS volunteers in rescue operations and providing the personnel with food, shelter and all other possible necessary help.
Three teams from Uttaranchal Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti (UDAPSS) sent to three different locations namely, Badrinath-Hemkund Sahib, Kedarnath, and Gangotri-Yamunotri for surveying the area and assessing the loss and life and property.
This survey is expected to help in planning the relief and rehabilitation program, the release said.
The floods have also affected the schools, hostels run by UDAPSS, Vidya Bharati and other organizations in a big way which would surely affect the student population. One such major project which was established after the 1991 earthquake is located in Maneri (14 kms from Uttarkashi), Sewashram which is a school with residential facility. Twelve rooms of this hostel have been washed away in this devastating flood.
Remaining part of hostel has been converted to a relief camp (providing food, medicines, shelter) for needy people. Rotary Club and Azim Premji Club were impressed by the Sewa offered here by the dedicated RSS volunteers and have supported this camp with relief materials.
This camp was started on June 18. This is the nearest location to Gangotri and people started streaming in soon after the floods. Till now 7500 pilgrims (including army soldiers) were provided food for seven days round the clock. Women from Bhubaneshwari Ashram have been actively volunteering here since the camp is established, supporting the camp with cooking food at Maneri Sewashram Camp.
Seventy houses in Joshiyada village were completely washed away, causing many casualties. Rotary Club donated 35 tents to affected families and our Volunteer team is providing them food, cloths, gas cylinders, medicines, blankets and all necessary items.