Saturday, January 29, 2005

IDRF's Tsunami Donation Receipts Cross US$600,000

USA, January 24, 2005: Thousands of donors have placed their faith in India Development & Relief Fund (IDRF) again as their "Charity of Choice," according to this IDRF press release from their website, "source." With their overwhelming support, IDRF's donation receipts for tsunami relief and rehabilitation have exceeded $600,000. While the tide of direct giving by individual donors has receded, more and more institutional donors like Indian associations, temples and cultural groups are approaching IDRF to channel their collection of donations due to IDRF's 17-year track record in working for the poor and affected people in India. IDRF's donation receipts are expected to reach $1 million due to such resolute support and generosity from the Indian-American community.

IDRF recently released a VCD Sparsh - The Healing Touch, showcasing the outstanding long-term earthquake rehabilitation work done in Gujarat by 18 NGOs which it financed. IDRF's sincere efforts in helping earthquake survivors without any discrimination and in a cost-effective manner has turned many new donors towards IDRF. For instance, many Indian American community groups, religious institutions and professional organizations from various cities are now actively working with IDRF. IDRF collaborates with such donors in making decisions on how and where their donations should be used. The donors are also encouraged to help monitor those projects.

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/hpi/2005/1/28.shtml#3

Friday, January 28, 2005

Help4India : Long term Tsunami relief and redevelopment

Help4India
http://www.help4india.org

- An informal effort by NRI volunteers for initiating
sustained, long term Tsunami relief and redevelopment

Several NRI students and young professionals have joined hands in
providing a forum for the long term re-development efforts in the
Tsunami hit areas of Southern India.

The devastation caused by the Tsunami saw an outpouring of relief
material and volunteers in the initial weeks of the disasters. Many
volunteer organizations and individuals worked endlessly to provide
relief and refuge to the millions effected.

This website was designed to provide information to the common man on
the extensive number of oragnizations tirelessly serving the tsunami
victims till date and also provide a forum where views, news and
future events of some of these organizationa will be presented.

With one month of the tragic disaster being completed on the Republic
day of India, today we humbly appeal to the different organizations to
come forward and help sustain this effort by posting their information
in this portal also.

This unified portal for information on relief efforts is being
launched with aim to consolidate information about different groups in
the long run and provide a long term strategy for support and
development.

We encourage you to please visit http://www.help4india.org with your
suggestions and support. Your small effort can make a big difference.

Regards
Help4india team
help4india@gmail.com

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Another Commie trick to derail IDRF

Another Commie trick to derail IDRF


Watch out guys http://www.idrf.ca/

Tt's "International Development & Relief Foundation" Seems more like a 'South Asian' outfit. And who do they quote on Kashmir? Arindathi Roy herself http://www.idrf.ca/Where-We-Work/Kashmir-Ehiopia.html !! And don't miss the
reference to 'Azad' Kashmir

SHAME ON YOU ARUNDATHI !

RK mission Pictures

Picture 1
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Picture 10

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hindu children made to pray to jesus 6 times a

Hindu children made to pray to jesus 6 times a
day in illegal orphanage


Critics say some Christians spread aid and Gospel
By Kim Barker
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published January 22, 2005

AKKARAIPETTAI, India -- The Christian evangelists came
in the morning, wearing fluorescent yellow T-shirts
emblazoned with "Believers Church" on the back and
"Gospel for Asia" on the front. They loaded up
hundreds of villagers, mostly Hindus, in vans and
trucks and drove them 6 miles away.

There, away from the eyes of village officials, each
tsunami survivor received relief supplies--a sleeping
mat, a plate, a sari, a 55-pound bag of rice and, in
the bottom of a white plastic bag proclaiming
"Believers Church Tsunami Relief," a book containing
biblical verses warning against the dangers of
alcohol.

"What do I do?" asked Muthammal, 35, who uses one name
like many in southern India and wears the red bindi on
her forehead showing she's Hindu. Like many here, she
cannot read. "They are asking us to come all this way.
It is so difficult."

Members of the Believers Church also have handed out
Bibles to tsunami survivors on the streets and in
relief camps. They set up an orphanage for 108
children, including many Hindus, and asked the
children to recite Christian prayers six times a day.
The Protestant church did not register the orphanage
with the government, authorities said. K.P. Yohannan,
the leader of Believers Church and Gospel for Asia,
said the church had tried to get government
permission.

Since the Dec. 26 tsunami killed more than 157,000
people and left millions homeless, relief groups have
flooded into Asia, from Sri Lanka to Thailand. As in
any crisis, many aid groups are religious, and they
consider it their duty to minister to the needy. Most
shun proselytizing and make little reference to what
they believe.

But in parts of Asia, some religious groups have
sparked controversy. They are accused of spreading a
message as they hand out rice and other supplies. They
are accused of exploiting tsunami victims.

In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim
country, Christian groups have been criticized for
distributing Bibles in relief camps. A U.S. missionary
group, World Help, planned to help raise 300 Muslim
children in a Christian children's home in Jakarta,
the capital. The project was abandoned after the
government protested.

An Islamic militant group in the hard-hit Indonesian
province of Aceh recruited members as it collected
bodies; other Islamic groups handed out thousands of
Korans in relief camps.

A U.S. group, the International Bible Society, has
announced plans to send 100,000 Christian texts,
including a book translated into Thai, "When Your
Whole World Changes," to survivors, including those in
Thailand.

Another group, Focus on the Family, prepared 300,000
survival packets including food, water, medicine and
the evangelical text "When God Doesn't Make Sense."
The group also has announced plans to rebuild
destroyed villages in India's Andhra Pradesh as
"Christian communities."

Gospel for Asia, a Texas-based evangelical group with
native missionaries in 10 Asian countries and the
phone number 1-800-WIN-ASIA, has dispatched about
1,000 workers to hand out relief aid. A feature on the
group's Web site called "Tsunami prayer requests" asks
people to pray for, among other things, many
opportunities to share the Gospel and "pray that the
Lord will bless this amazing opportunity to touch
thousands of children's lives with the Gospel."

Conversion efforts denied

Yohannan said members of the Believers Church and
Gospel for Asia were not trying to convert anyone. But
if people embraced Christianity after meeting the
evangelists, Yohannan would be happy.

"We wish everyone would believe in Jesus and love
Jesus," he said.

In India, fewer people have protested religious relief
activities than in Indonesia. Strife among religions
is common in India, but such differences have been
largely set aside since the disaster. Most Indians are
Hindu, but the tsunami hit hardest in an area near
holy spots for Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.
People also are happy to get anything. They will take
Christian texts from Believers Church if it means
getting rice.

"They are giving it," said Govindaraj, 45, a Hindu
from Akkaraipettai. "So we are taking it."

The surrounding Nagapattinam area of Tamil Nadu, a
coastal fishing district where more than 6,000 people
died, now looks like an ad for multiculturalism. Nuns
in habits ride around in a white Jeep. Refugees store
clothing in cardboard boxes taped with signs from
"Eternal Word Ministries Relief Aid." Muslims in
T-shirts advertising their religion help pull out
trawlers that the tsunami slammed into a bridge.

Scientologists try to heal people and help them move
on from the tsunami. The children of the village call
them "the white people in the yellow dresses,"
although they are not all white and they wear yellow
T-shirts--different from those of the Believers
Church--proclaiming "volunteer minister."

Most of these groups have had no problems. Many
religious leaders say they are only helping people,
not spreading religion.

"This is not the time to distribute Bibles or preach,"
said Rev. Franklin of the Church of South India, a
Protestant church.

Men from the Tamil Nadu Muslim Progress Organization
shook the hands of Scientologists, who had trained
them in a procedure called a "contact assist," which
tries to get people to move on from the time of the
tsunami and face their fears.

The Believers Church has stirred up more controversy
than any action by the Scientologists. Several church
members denied handing out Bibles and insisted they
were only cleaning up homes.

"We have not handed out Bibles," said Anandraj, 25.

Later, outside their new orphanage, church members
acknowledged they had handed out Bibles and booklets
against alcohol and abortion that include biblical
verses. They said they had distributed relief
materials at the orphanage, rather than in the
village, because it was easier and because they did
not have enough for everyone. They denied trying to
convert anyone. They said they only wanted to help.

Local officials displeased

But Akkaraipettai officials were upset. They
complained that the Christian group did not follow the
village procedures for relief agencies and did not
help everyone.

"We will not accept anyone trying to convert anyone to
another religion," said Selvamnattar, the village
president, adding that the village was entirely Hindu.
"Anyone who wants to help, we welcome it. But we will
not allow conversions."

The state of Tamil Nadu once banned religious
conversions, but that law recently was repealed.
Yohannan, the leader of Believers Church and Gospel
for Asia, blamed any controversy on Hindu
fundamentalists trying to stir up trouble.

Many children from Akkaraipettai ended up at the
Believers Church orphanage, set up to care for
children who lost one or both parents or for children
whose parents could not handle their children after
the tsunami. Biju, a Believers Church official, said
church members recruited children by talking about the
orphanage to people in relief camps and villages.

"We did not take the children," he said.

But the orphanage was set up without knowledge of the
government, said Suriyakala, the district's social
welfare officer.

Inside the orphanage, children seemed happy, playing
volleyball, badminton and cricket. Several Hindu
children said they were asked to recite Christian
prayers six times a day.

"As soon as we get up, we pray," said Rajavalli, 13, a
Hindu, adding that she had no problem with praying.

Members of the church also handed out Tamil-language
Bibles, including refugees staying in a railway
station. Several said they took the Bible only because
it was offered.

But Mahalakshmi, 18, who had converted earlier from
Hinduism to Christianity, said she was happy to get a
Bible.

"I understand that to make people understand they have
sinned, God has sent this tsunami," she said. "I get
peace from reading the Bible and understanding this.
Others who don't will continue to suffer."

Monday, January 24, 2005

How do you spell relief? P-o-l-i-t-i-c-s

Were waves the fault of 'infidels'?

By SALIM MANSUR -- For the Toronto Sun

Canadians observed, at the initiative of Prime Minister Paul Martin, an official day of mourning for the Asian tsunami victims. There have been similar observations, ecumenical prayers, expressions of grief and solidarity from peoples and governments across the world.

More important, words have been matched and exceeded with the generosity of people in Canada and elsewhere to help alleviate the sufferings of the living and contribute to rebuilding the devastated areas of the countries affected.

In the midst of such an outpouring of support for tsunami victims, words from the Middle East, reported in the regional media, sound a strikingly contrary and discordant note.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), based in Washington, has been providing since 1998, as its Web site notes, "timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media."

This service of reporting -- unedited and uncensored -- what is said by those who shape public opinion in the region provides a window to the thinking of the people there.

A review of MEMRI's recent translations of statements relating to the Asian tsunami in the Arab media is at once shocking and revealing of the mindset of many religious, academic and political leaders of the Arab-Muslim world.

The Saudi justice minister, Ibrahim Al-Bashar, went on the Saudi Arabian/United Arab Emirates Al-Majd television channel to state: "Whoever reads the Koran, given by the Maker of the World, can see how these nations were destroyed. There is one reason: they lied, they sinned, and (they) were infidels."

In the same vein, Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, a Palestinian prayer leader, announced just days after the tsunami that the waves were sent by a vengeful God against "corrupt oppressors."

A Saudi professor, Sheikh Fawzan Al-Fawzan, at the Al-Imam University in Beirut, Lebanon, observed on television that the tsunami was a divine punishment for homosexuality and fornication: "It happened at Christmas, when fornicators and corrupt people from all over the world come to commit fornication and sexual perversion."

Another Saudi cleric, Muhammad Al-Munajjid, expanded this idea: "Those celebrating spent (the holiday) in vacation resorts, pubs, and hotels. Allah struck them with an earthquake. He finished off the Richter scale. Tens of thousands dead."

An Egyptian correspondent, Mahmoud Bakri, writing for Egypt's weekly magazine Al-Usbu', developed an ingenious, conspiracy-laden theory for the disaster. Bakri posed the question "Was (it) caused by American, Israeli, and Indian nuclear testing on the day of horror?"

Then he answered: "... although so far it has not been proven that secret Indian-Israeli nuclear testing is what caused the destructive earthquake, there is evidence that the recent nuclear tests, the exchange of nuclear experts between India and Israel, and the American pressure on Pakistan regarding its nuclear cooperation with Asian and Islamic countries -- all these pose a big question mark regarding the causes of the severe earthquake in Asia."

These words illuminate the minds of the people who utter them and of those who accept.

Moreover, these are opinions of several members of the educated elite of a part of the world deliberately locked into a medieval mindset.

This medievalism, often in the guise of Islam, rages in fury at the world beyond itself. It extols the virtues of suicide bombers, blames Jews and infidels for the ills of the world, and declares war on the West.

There is a lesson in this. It took Europe centuries to escape the fanaticism and impoverishment of the medieval age.

Today, the West must protect itself from the medievalism of the Middle East.

======

How do you spell relief? P-o-l-i-t-i-c-s

MARCUS GEE

Let’s not be cynical. Genuine compassion for the Tsunami victims is the main reason why countries around the world have been rushing to help the relief efforts. But let’s not be naïve, either. National interest and pride have also been driving countries to give, and the way they gave, casts an interesting light on their strengths and ambitions.

For the United States, the aid drive is a golden opportunity to improve the way that Americans are seen by others. The U.S. has deployed hundred of troops and scores of warships and helicopters. The pictures of U.S. troops

handing out food and water to victims in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation should help dispel the absurd idea that Washington is prejudiced against the Islamic world. It was the United States, after all, that intervened to end a famine in mainly Muslim Somalia in the early 1990s. The United States that sent warplanes to attack Serbs who were massacring Bosnian Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, and the United States that led the drive to rescue Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded the Persian Gulf State.

The relief effort is a chance to show that American power can do good as well as deter evil. Secretary of State Collin Powell called the effort “an investment in national security.” If it helps relieve the unreasoning hatred of the United States that infects so much of the world, it will be money well spent.

For India, the disaster is a chance to show its big power status and regional influence. New Delhi dispatched ships, helicopters and aircrafts to neighboring Sri Lanka with in a day of the Tsunamis, bringing doctors, water and medical supplies. The message was clear: Even though India itself suffered in the disaster, it has the power and the wealth to help others. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointedly declined all offers of foreign aid, declaring that “we feel we can cope with the situation on our own.” India, he was correct to say, has plenty of experience, dealing with natural disasters, from Monsoon floods to earthquakes, but the refusal of outside help reeked of the prickly pride that is one of the modern India’s character flaws.

The effects could be especially severe for the residents of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Though the archipelago lies more than 1,400 kilometers east of the Indian mainland, New Delhi is keeping out most of the aid agencies over apparent fears that a foreign presence might somehow comprise Indian sovereignty there.

For China and Japan, as well, aid is a way to extend their influence. Japan is dismayed by its puny status on the international stage and hungers for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Its $500 – million (U.S.) contribution to disaster relief is intended to show that Japan is global player. To underline the point, it is sending destroyers, supply ships and 900 military personnel.

Japan’s big effort is also intended to pre-empt China, its East Asian rival. Japanese officials reportedly settled on $ 500 – million because they feared that Beijing was about to make a huge offer. They need not have worried: China came through with only $ 83 – million. Its military aid consist of a few dozen medical workers flown into the distant zones, an embarrassing contrast to the 13,000 being deployed by Washington.

China’s under whelming response shows that, despite its booming economy and great power ambitions, it has a long way to go before it fulfills its dream of becoming the dominant power in its region, if not the world. In a crisis like this, it cannot even compete with Australia, which has a population one - 65th as large but is giving 10 times as much.

More disappointing still has been the response from the Arab world. Even with a quarter of the world’s proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia is sending only $30 – million, roughly the same amount as the Netherlands. Kuwait and Qatar, meanwhile, gave $ 10 – million each, and the United Arab Emirates $ 20 – million. In total, the four oil producers gave $ 70 – million. Compare that to the $ 500 – million a day they earn in oil revenue, and you get a rough idea of how much they really care about their Muslim brothers and sisters in Indonesia.

(At the time of Iran earthquake, no Muslim country gave any kind of help to Muslim Iran.)

Tsunami tests secular dogmas

Pioneer 25January2005


Sandhya Jain


Tsunami victims of Samanthapettai near the temple town of Madurai saw the dark side of Christian charity as missionaries stomped out of their village without distributing relief after residents refused their faith-for-food deal (ANI, 16 January 2005).


The 200-odd homeless villagers, coping with hunger, trauma and disease, felt blessed when trucks with food, clothes and medicines moved into the village. But when the nuns insisted that they convert before accepting a minimal diet of biscuits and water, the villagers recoiled with distaste. Hot words were exchanged, but the adamant missionaries beat back local attempts to acquire the relief material and quit with their supplies intact when television crews arrived on the scene by chance.


Unfortunately, the Union Government has taken no cognizance of missionary attempts to prey upon hapless tsunami victims, and reports suggest that missionary groups are getting disproportionate control over distribution of relief supplies. That is why missionaries checkmated in Indonesia are rushing to Chennai.


As is now well-known, the US-based World Help was forced to abandon plans to put 50 Muslim children in a Christian orphanage near Jakarta because the Indonesian Government said: “Muslim children should not be raised in a non-Muslim home.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations added: “This confirms some of our worst fears that certain missionary groups would exploit the tragedy and the earthquake to enter into these areas and convert people through use of a disproportionate power relationship. How many incidents of this type are taking place that we don't hear about?” Indonesia has banned foreign adoptions of orphans to allay fears of possible child-smuggling or abuse following the tragedy.


In Aceh, dozens of Western Christian groups have moved in to help and convert victims, triggering enormous tension and impeding relief to nearly six lakh homeless people. The Indonesian Council of Ulemas says using aid to spread religion is wrong, and warns that the “Muslim community will not remain quiet. This is a clear statement and it is serious.” But Americans are born-again religious imperialists; evangelist Mark Kosinski insisted: “These people need food but they also need Jesus. God is trying to awaken people and help them realize salvation is in Christ.”


World Help has now turned towards India, where (its website announced) “God is overcoming hundreds of years of false religions and idol worship.” Such despicable language surely amounts to hate speech under American laws. The United Nations, which avers respect for all faiths, also needs to take cognizance of such abusive practices.


Sadly, World Help is confident that India’s votebank-conscious politicians will permit evangelization under the pretext of religious freedom, as recently witnessed in the facilitation of the Benny Hinn sham show in Bangalore. Its president Rev. Vernon Brewer described the Indonesian orphanage plans as really “no different than what Mother Theresa did by taking Hindu orphan children and placing them in a Roman Catholic children's home in Calcutta, and she won the Nobel Peace Prize for doing that.” This is an eloquent comment on the political-cultural underpinnings of the Nobel, and Indian politicians panting for it should accept that getting it involves sacrificing critical national interests.


Western determination to make the world Christian calls for scrutiny of the idea of ‘secularism.’ Many Indians lazily swallow Western propaganda that secularism is separation of Church (religion) from State (public realm); that Western nations are superior because they practice this policy; and that secularism is a universal value.


In truth, secularism is only a tactical ceasefire negotiated between warring Christian denominations in blood-stained Europe. The privileges of secularism (State restraint from murder and mayhem against different sects) did cover other faiths entering Christian lands. But the rising anti-Jewish sentiment in France (birthplace of all Western ‘universal’ values) should make us understand the basically intra-Christian nature of this concept. Islam did not produce a truce among Islamic sects, and continues to be plagued by sectarian strife. Islamic tolerance of other creeds is notoriously deficient.


Hindu leaders have mindlessly accepted Western categories of thought and imposed artificial definitions upon society. The Vedic categories of “Vasudev kutumbukum” (the world is one family) and “Ekam sat, vipraha bahuda vadanti” (there is one Truth, wise men call it differently) have been distorted to harm community interests and need a proper explanation.


To begin with, the monotheistic traditions were unknown to India when these pristine thoughts were enunciated. The Vedic seers validated all thoughts, divinities, and sacred symbols revered within the geo-cultural matrix of India, and bound them into the fabled unity and continuity of the Indic tradition.


Does Vedic tolerance bestow spiritual equality to monotheistic faiths? Our ethos does not label any spiritual quest as ‘false religion’ (whatever that means). Yet Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. Accepting Christianity or Islam involves hating our own dharma (as secular intellectuals and politicians do), and shunning the other monotheism, as both demand exclusive adherence! Soon our ‘tolerant’ secularists will be forced to choose between Islam and Christianity, as evangelizers up the ante in the contest for souls (read holy warriors).


Much of the current tension in Indian society is on account of ‘secular’ politicians mollycoddling the two monotheisms and suppressing legitimate Hindu aspirations. While secularism in a Hindu context permits the existence of other faiths, it cannot tolerate negation of Hindu identity and culture. Dharma demands that spiritual paths that refuse to coexist and seek actively to destroy others must be repelled.


Secularists will claim a multi-religious society cannot privilege a particular tradition, but this is the reality all over the world. The German State collects taxes for two major Christian groups (non-Christians are exempt). It also provides religious lessons at school for the two Christian sects.


America is famously non-neutral in matters of religion. The dollar proclaims: “In God we trust” and the Pledge of Allegiance invokes God. In South Carolina, Protestantism is State religion and the election of clergy is part of the State election process. The constitution of Pennsylvania advocates religious work for building human virtues.


In Britain, the Church of England is the official Church and the monarch is its head. To this day, a Catholic or anyone who marries a Catholic cannot claim the throne. In Scotland, the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church is the supreme legislative and judicial body. Higher echelons of priesthood automatically become members of the upper house of the British Parliament and thus participate in the legislative process.


In Japan, Buddhism was the state religion from the sixth century until 1934, when a military coup restored the original Shinto as state religion. The 1945 constitution separated religion and state, but Shinto priests continue to preside over all public and private ceremonies. These are all nations that India respects.


Within the country, however, we find that in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, most cash-rich temples are controlled by State Governments. The contributions made by devotees are taken by the State treasury, and the Hindu community is deprived. Not only are donations to churches and mosques untouched, but the contributions of Hindu laity are diverted for upkeep of churches and mosques, and even finance the infamous Hajj subsidy! Indian secularism thus discriminates against Hindu dharma and Hindu aspirations. It is high time we liberate ourselves from this false secularism and give due respect to ourselves and our native ethos.

Christian Conversions attempts in the time of grief

What a shame on these evangalists , they want CONVERSIONS IN EXCHANGE OF SERVICE ??

Public should take a not of this and protest this trend
-----------------------------------------------------------

Shobha Warrier in Nagapattinam | January 24, 2005 15:45 IST
Last Updated: January 24, 2005 16:17 IST

When I entered one of the rows of temporary shelters built for
tsunami victims in Pattancherry village in Nagapattinam, I witnessed
a minor scuffle in a corner.

Some inmates had surrounded a Christian priest and two nuns, and a
war of words was going on.

"We are Hindus and we want to live as Hindus. Why do you want to
convert us?" some young men shouted at the missionaries.
The priest said, "We are not here to convert people. We were only
offering prayers for your peace of mind."
But flashing some pamphlets distributed among them by the three, the
inmates snorted, "What does this mean?"
The priest had no answer.

"Why do you enter our houses and pray?," they asked. "Your nuns do
this when our women are alone at home. We know how to pray."
The young men were extremely furious. The priest was unruffled. But
the nuns were shaken by the sudden surge of animosity from the
muscular men.

The scuffle went on till the three were forced to leave the place.
Day two:

As I was visiting the areas close to the sea that were badly
affected by the tsunami waves, I saw another angry scene outside
another temple in another village.

Police jeeps were seen parked outside the temple in Samandapettai.
So was a van.
Villagers were complaining to the police about a missionary group to
which the van belonged.

They said the group had taken away to another place their belongings
and the relief they had got from nongovernmental organisations and
the government, which they had kept inside the temple, because they
refused to listen to its missionaries.

"They want to try their luck at some other place. Since we resisted,
they took away our things. We won't allow this to happen," they
said. "Why don't you arrest all of them?" the villagers asked the
police.

The villagers' torrent of angry words continued. "We have lost
everything to the sea. They said they would help us if we followed
their religion. What logic is this? Are they here to help us or
change our religion?" The police couldn't cool their tempers.
The group said it did not take away the belongings of the villagers
and insisted that the contents inside the van belonged to it.
That evening, some villagers came with the news that the police had
arrested the priest they had confronted the previous day. Apparently
some angry villagers had gheraoed him, and forced the police to
arrest him.

"He shouldn't be doing this when we are grieving, when we are
suffering. Everything has its time and place," a villager said.
When I wanted to talk to the panchayat president and locals of the
Karakkalmedu village at Karaikkal, they called me inside the village
temple. That was where they met outsiders. The temple has become the
centre of activity in the village.

Before we started talking, one of them opened the door to the
sanctum sanctorum and pointed to a mark left by the strong tsunami
waves. They told me that water stopped at the feet of their deity
and then receded. "We might have suffered, but our Goddess saved us."
This belief had taken the villagers all the more closer to their
deity.

"That is why it hurts us when others come and tell us that it was
because of our God and our belief that we suffered. We won't let
anyone exploit us when we are down," the panchayat members asserted.

http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/jan/24shoba.htmH

Friday, January 14, 2005

Why India didn't took donations from Paris Club ? One should read this

Disaster donations may well end up servicing the Third World Debt!

By Damien Millet and Eric Toussaint (*)

Ever since the earthquake that struck off the coast of Indonesia on
26th December there has been a profusion of figures in the headlines,
increasing remorselessly: the number of victims, the cost of the damage, the
amount of international aid. And a succession of meetings involving the major
powers: the Jakarta conference, a G7 meeting, a session of the Paris Club ...
Let us pause to comment on some little-known facts and figures that should
be at the heart of the debate.

Eleven countries are affected: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand,
Somalia, the Maldives, Malaysia, Burma, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Kenya.
A mixed bag, including countries from Africa and from Asia, countries
with emerging economies and very poor countries, countries repaying colossal
amounts on their debts and others which have suspended payments.
However Nature made no distinction between these countries, so it would seem
all the more shocking to grant to some what others might be denied.

At the end of 2003, the total external debt of the eleven countries
came to 406 billion dollars [1]. Their economic performance varied greatly, as
did their creditors [2]. Promising countries like India and Thailand have a
debt mainly to private lenders, contracted on the finance markets or
with big banks. Poor countries like Sri Lanka or Bangladesh have a mainly
multilateral debt, held by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank
and the IMF. More internationally isolated countries like Somalia have a
mainly bilateral debt contracted with rich countries.

In 2003, the eleven countries repaid a total of 68 billion dollars to
their foreign creditors, as compared to 60 billion the preceding year. Their
governments alone repaid 38 billion dollars [3]. It is an enormous
drain on their resources: between 1980 and 2003, repayments totalled eleven
times the amount owed in 1980, while at the same time, that original debt had
increased fivefold [4].

The amount of international aid so far pledged is estimated at 6
billion dollars, 4 billion of which will come from official institutions.
Without wishing to discourage the wave of generosity, which relieves the
donors' consciences long before it reaches the victims, it is urgent to point
out that the eleven countries shell out six times that much in debt
repayments each year. So the grossly over-publicised generosity, even when it is
sincere, remains a very subtle mechanism for sucking the wealth of the
populations of the South towards their rich creditors. If only
December's tragedy could serve to highlight that other tragedy, going well beyond
the eleven countries hit by the tsunami: the debt. Because of it, and with
the complicity of the local ruling classes who have a personal interest in
keeping their countries indebted, States do not guarantee the
fulfilment of their people's basic needs; poverty and corruption are widespread;
political and economic sovereignty have become meaningless concepts for
dozens of countries; natural resources are pillaged or sold off to
powerful multinational corporations; farmers are forced to grow cash crops for
export to the detriment of subsistence crops. The debt is the
particularly vigorous nerve centre of a predatory and oppressive economic model.

What creditor would dare declare publicly that they still intend to
obtain repayments from such badly damaged countries? Nevertheless, none has
definitely given up. The long-awaited Paris Club meeting, (17 days
after the quake) attended by 19 rich countries, should fool no one. The
creditors are ready to suspend repayments, with no significant cancellation of
the debt, all the better to lay down strict conditionalities enforced by
the IMF. Yet this is the same IMF which already distinguished itself during
the 1997-1998 crisis with remedies worse than the disease.

As a mater of conscience, all creditors can decide to renounce their
debts. Without delay. It has already happened in recent years for geopolitical
reasons [5]. Hundreds of social movements present in the region,
particularly the CADTM and Jubilee South networks, have called for
cancellation, showing the objective solidarity that exists among all
those who have first-hand experience of the tyranny of the debt. A moratorium
or simple reduction will not do. Only the total and unconditional
cancellation of the external public debt of the stricken countries, with local
citizens' control over the money thus freed up, can be an adequate response to
the scale of the tsunami disaster. Otherwise, the only purpose your
donations will serve, in the end, is to help the devastated countries to repay
their debt - a debt that has become immoral.

(*) Damien Millet, president of CADTM France, and Eric Toussaint,
president of CADTM Belgium (Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt).
They co-authored the book "The Debt Scam", published by VAK, Mumbai,
2003 and "Who Owes Who?" published by Zedbooks, London, 2004.

NOTES:

[1] Authors' calculations based on World Bank figures.

[2] 47 % are private, 27 % bilateral and 26 % multilateral.

[3] Of which 16 billion were due to the multilateral institutions (7 bn
for the World Bank and 4 bn for the IMF); 9 billion to the rich countries;
13 billion to private investors.

[4] Authors' calculations based on World Bank figures.

[5] Egypt and Poland in 1991, Russia in 1998, Yugoslavia and Pakistan
in 2001, Iraq in 2004.

Translated by Vicki Briault CADTM France.

www.cadtm.org

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Five glimpses of tsunami relief seva rendered by RSS , Seva Bharathi

Five glimpses of tsunami relief seva rendered by swayamsevaks of RSS-Seva Bharathi, Tamilnadu


This issue of PANCHAAMRITAM was due on Amavasya (January 10, 2005).
This delay, as can be guessed, was caused by Tsunami. All the same, it
provided us an opportunity to present glimpses of the service rendered
by Swayamsevaks of RSS-Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu among the Tsunami-hit
along the Tamilnadu coastline, with emphasis on North Tamilnadu.



January 13, 2005

ONE

** RSS - Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu volunteers Valavan and Shastri saved
78 persons from the jaws of death while they were engaged in relief
work in Nagore, Nagapattinam District. ** At Kilinjalmedu near
Karaikkal (Pondichery Union Territory), Gnanasekaran, a well built
Swayamsevak made several trips into the turbulent sea and carried 2
persons every time back to shore. In this manner, he saved the lives
of 25 persons. ** In the same place, Ganesh and Arulmurugan climbed on
to a boat that was being tossed by the waves, rowed into the sea and
brought ashore 6 persons struggling for life out there. ** At a place
near Kalpaakkam, where river Palaru meets the sea, the force of the
current was maximum. Volunteers Ramesh and Mekkavan found two persons
being snatched away by the receding rush of sea water; they managed to
rescue both after a hard struggle (Thus, Swayamsevaks saved the lives
of a total of 114 persons all along the Tamilnadu coastline).

TWO

** Paramankeni (Kanchipuram District): Various organisations and
individuals had dumped relief material in this costal village. The
villagers found that blankets were far more than the requirement. They
decided to pass them on to other needy people. They thoughtfully chose
a Harijan hamlet nearby. They carried the bundles of blankets and
distributed them among the worse affected men and women there. ** At
Neelangarai, a fishing village in south Chennai coast RSS-Seva
Bharathi team went round distributing food packets on the evening of
the day when Tsunami struck. The residents of the place requested the
team to serve food to the residents of the adjacent village where no
relief had reached by that time. They said, "We have taken food but
our neighbours are hungry". ** In Aiyambakkam, a hamlet situated on
the Cuddalore-Chidambaram route Swayamsevaks distributed relief
material. They also met families that have lost their near and dear
and consoled them. But the villagers said, "we are particularly sad
that we are not in a position even to provide refreshments to you who
have taken the trouble of coming to share our grief."

THREE

** Thirvottriyur (North Chennai): Tsunami afflicted people from many
fishing hamlets in north Chennai in need of relief materials were
requested by the volunteers of RSS - Seva Bharathi to arrange
themselves in rows and sit down. They did. A piece of camphor and
matchbox were given to each. All of them were requested by the
volunteers to light the camphor and pray to the almighty to bestow
sadgati to their departed dear ones. The effect was simply
inexplicable in words. A deep silence that prevailed in the minutes
that followed clearly made those present there feel and experience the
current of profound emotions that was running in the hearts of every
single tsunami hit individual. Soon after, when Swayamsevaks asked the
people whether some of them could come forward to join the relief and
rehabilitation activity, all assembled there spontaneously raised
their hands as a sign of their readiness. Thereupon, Swayamsevaks
selected 3 men and 3 women as volunteers for every hamlet. Thus a
feeling of service mindedness could be evoked even in grief-stricken
men and women by appealing to their innate spirituality. ** Chinnanur
(Salem District): Swayamsevaks and Seva Bharathi volunteers residing
in interior districts provided the most essential supply back up by
door to door collection of relief material. Swayamsevaks of Chinnanur
found an old woman in rags approaching the cart loaded with relief
material collected in the village, trying to say something. One young
volunteer, presuming that she was asking for alms, told her to go
away. But, to his wonderment, the old lady extended her arm holding a
tiny cloth bag (surukku pai) containing some small change, her own
precious savings. She was, in fact, offering her all for the sake of
the suffering sons and daughters.

FOUR

** Ambattur (Chennai): The management, staff and students of Saraswati
Matriculation School decided to cancel the annual day celebrations
this year and donate Rs. 30,000 being the amount saved thus to the
relief and rehabilitation work of Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu. The
correspondent of the school who came to Seva Bharathi office at
Chetpet, Chennai, to hand over the cheque, was so impressed by the
sincere and systematic efforts of Seva Bharathi that he made,
additionally, a personal contribution of Rs 10,000 on the spot. **
Avalurpet (Vellore District): Many a coastal village in Tamilnadu hit
by Tsunami left behind many children fatherless and motherless.
Swayamsevaks have started finding out establishments that will take
care of these hapless kids. Raja Desingu School is one such school
where a few orphaned kids will stay study. The Swayamsevaks learnt
that the school was already home to a few orphans. But the newcomers
were only more welcome there, indicating the accommodative spirit of
the school management.

FIVE

** By the efforts of RSS - Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu, seven eminent
Hindu spiritual groups including the AIM of Swami Dayananda Sarawati,
the Ramakrisha Mutt, The Art of Living team of Sri Sri Ravishankar,
Yoga followers of Shri. Jaggi Vasudev, devotees of Mata
Amritananadamayi, etc., came together and formed Tsunami
Rehabilitation Inititative (TRI) and have started working in unison, a
sign of recent Hindu resurgence. ** A district level functionary of
the Congress Party in North Chennai found RSS-Seva Bharati Volunteers
successfully inspiring even the Tsunami hit people to shoulder the
relief and rehabilitation work. That made him feed a hundred such
volunteers at one of the 15 relief camps run by RSS-Seva Bharathi
Tamilnadu, for two days at his own expense. He had come to the camp,
in fact, looking for his grandmother who had volunteered to join
others in sorting clothes received from the public for distribution.
** The Tamilnadu secretary of Communist Party of India Shri.
Nallakannu went round many Tsunami hit places; on returning to Chennai
he told reporters on January 1, 2005, " I found RSS men helping
affected people even in places where the state machinery had not
entered."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

NOTE: Willing donors may send in their contributions as Cheque /
Demand Draft in the name of "Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu -Earthquake
Relief A/C" at the following address:

Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu,

1, M.V.Street, Panchavadi, Chetpet,

Chennai - 600 031.

Fund Raising program : Vrindavana Preservation Society

Vrindavana Preservation Society


Memo

To: WHDH, WCVB, WBZ, WFXT, WLVI, WSBK, NECN, WHBH, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, India New England, Daily Times Chronicle, Reading Advocate, Patriot Ledger, Harvard Pilgrim Heath Care, Venetian Moon Restaurant, Prospective Supporting Organizations, and VPS Members

From: Keshav Shukla, Vrindavana Preservation Society President and

Nicholas Cavallo, Vrindavana Preservation Society Treasurer

CC: Venkata Dayanandan, VPS Chennai Organizer

Date: 1/12/2005

Re: VPS Tsunami Relief Project and Upcoming Venetian Moon Fundraiser – Monday, January 17

This upcoming Monday, January 17, 2005, the Vrindavana Preservation Society, a Quincy-based non-profit, volunteer organization will attend a fundraiser to be held at the Venetian Moon Restaurant, 680 Main Street, Reading, MA. You are all invited to attend. The fundraiser will begin at 5:00 pm and continue until midnight. Media is encouraged to arrive prior. The fundraiser brings together the efforts of these two groups. For direction please call Venetian Moon at (781)944-3633

In response to the Tsunami disaster, the Vrindavana Preservation Society has held a number of gatherings expressing the organization’s distress surrounding the natural disaster two weeks ago. A moment of silence was held to honor those who were affected, including some friends and family of the primarily Indian VPS members. The gatherings were covered be a number of Boston network news channels and the Patriot Ledger in Quincy. After receiving encouragement and support from members, VPS has decided to organize a trip to Chennai to participate directly in the relief efforts. Since committing to the effort, VPS has been happy with the overwhelming support from it’s member in the form of monetary donations. Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare has also come forward as a corporate sponsor. There is also one other large company expressing their interest to support VPS as well.

In a seemingly unrelated story, the Venetian Moon Restaurant, an Italian restaurant in Reading announced last week that it would donate all the revenue generated on Monday January 17, 2005 to an, as of then, undecided charity organization, to aid in the relief efforts is Asia. This story was covered a couple Boston network news stations.

The Venetian Moon Restaurant is owned and operated by Carmen and Anthony Cavallo. Unbeknownst to them, their son Nicholas Cavallo was also planning a trip to volunteer personally in Chennai as Treasurer of the VPS. Earlier this week, after exchanging stories, the Venetian Moon Restaurant has chosen to donate all the revenue generated this Monday to the Vrindavana Preservation Society. It is for this event that we invite you attend.

Below is an overview of the project planning currently underway by volunteers and the contact information for VPS and the Venetian Moon Restaurant.

On January 28th, Keshav Shukla – VPS President, Dennis Kelley – VPS Vice President, Nicholas Cavallo – VPS Treasurer, and Charran Mahadeo – VPS Member, will depart to India for 5 weeks. They are planning to meet several officers from the Vrindavana Chapter of VPS, and several VPS members in Chennai to begin their Tsunami relief efforts.

With the help of VPS members in Chennai, primarily Venkata Dayanandan, VPS has actively planning the precise activities that will take place. Pending the follow-up from a meeting that occurred on January 11, VPS has decided to engage in two main efforts. First it hope to engage in immediate services including, but not limited to: mass distribution of heath information flyers, mass distribution of khitchri (lentil and vegetable rice) and/or other meals, and collaboration with local hospitals for immediate medical needs. Concurrently, VPS will continue it’s current efforts to locate appropriate projects run by the LOCAL community and a select few longer term restoration efforts. Further details will be outlined in an official project plan that will be sign-off by the VPS board of directors sometime before January 28.

VPS has participated in a number of volunteer effort in Vrindavana, India in the past, including: extensive restoration of historical centers (with the help of the Indian Archeological Department), distribution of clothing and supplied to local sewer cleaners (in an effort to change common perception of such citizens as “untouchables”) and commencement of a long term project to create a 5-acre botanical garden exhibiting the lands original natural beauty.

100% of all donations received at the Venetian Moon or any other donations received as part of the Tsunami fundraising or intended by the donator for use in the Tsunami disaster will be directly utilized for the upcoming Tsunami relief project in South India. Donations will NOT be utilized for any personal expenses incurred by VPS members on their trip including food, lodging and transportation.


VENETIAN MOON RESTAURANT

680 Main Street

Reading, MA

(781)944-3633

Contact person: Anthony Cavallo

(cell) – 781-953-9919



VRINDAVANA PRESERVATION SOCIETY

226 Billings Street

Quincy, MA 02171

www.vps-international.org


Contact person: Keshav Shukla

keshav@vps-international.org


Contact person: Nicholas Cavallo

nick_vps@yahoo.com

(cell) – (617)791-2892

Monday, January 10, 2005

AID diverting Tsunami relief funds to communist outfits

AID (Association for India's Development) diverting Tsunami relief funds to communist outfits?

-- Report from Chennai


I was in Tamil Nadu the whole of last week coordinating some relief
work. I had gone along with some other individual freelancers from
Bangalore city.

We did find the DYFI volunteers as ubiquitous atleast in Chidambaram
district. DYFI and other NGO there called Creed had a mafia-level
hold on the district. One cannot go anywhere without them monitoring
you.

One DYFI guy called Dinesh Thirumurthi(working in NetApps, Calif) is
coordinating their effort. Colluding with the local police and other
perverted Marxist forums (with nice names like science forum etc),
that pig is spreading his own message amongst the locals.

The DYFI guys had elaborate lists with each member of each family of
the village listed out. Any outsider to that area is forced to take
along the DYFI volunteers who project the action to the villagers as
their own.

AID is working along with DYFI. It is not a hidden fact. In their
daily dispatches, that pig Dinesh Thirumurthi is projecting his
achievements as great contributions by DYFI to our society. Many
individuals in Bangalore atleast have been bought over by his
argument and are unknowingly associating with those devils.

The police are another impediment to relief work. We had to bribe
those police morons at every checkpost else they do not let you
access the villages. Add to this, the almost complete absence of Govt
from most rural areas.

The media is concentrating only on the urban areas which are
accessible easily by road. The areas cut off from pucca roads are
being neglected. Even the non-Marxist NGOs there are busy in their
old game of taking photos first and then worrying about relief.
-----------------

PROFILE

Dinesh Thirumurthy

http://www.geocities.com/dinesh_thirumurthy/

US Residence 34270 Duffy Terrace, Fremont, CA 94555, USA No Phone email dinesh_thirumurthy@yahoo.com
US Work Network Appliance, Inc., 495 E Java Dr Sunnyvale, CA 94089, USA Phone (408) 822 3351 email dan.trimmer@gmail.com
India Residence 36 Duraiswamy Road, Kilpauk Gardens, Kilpauk, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 010, India Phone +91-44-264701097


Tsunami Relief Work in Tamil Nadu, India

Flight Details:
---------------
Passenger Dinesh Thirumurthy

Depart San Francisco by Singapore Airlines SQ1 29 Dec 12:05AM
Depart Singapore by Singapore Airlines SQ410 30 Dec 8:35PM
Arrive Chennai at 10:35 PM

Current Relief Work Plan:
-------------------------

I will try to find 4 HAM volunteers
I will try to find that many physicians.
I will try to arrange for medical supplies.

And we will leave in 2 vehicles towards Cuddalore on 31 Dec Monrning.

Arrive Cuddalore Noon.
Deploy HAM station
Help in Relief Work
Until things improve.

How to Contact Me in India:
Contact my wife

Rajalakshmi Subramanian - risind@yahoo.com (206) 790 4864
and my mother
Kousalya Arumugam - adeept@yahoo.com +91 44 2647 0197, 2647 0107 (use phone)




Sunday, January 09, 2005

Latest Report on Relief work by RAMAKRISHNA MATT

Received from Sundaram Iyer Seethalakshmi

www.geocities.com/hsitah9/01-TSUNAMIREPORTEnglishHQdoc-2.doc

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Good Charities for Disaster with U.S. 501 (c)(3) Non Profit Status

Charities for Disaster with U.S. 501 (c)(3) Non Profit Status:

All India Movement for Seva www.aimforseva.org

India Development and Relief Fund www.idrf.org

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin www.aapio.org

BAPS Care International www.bapscare.org

International Association for Human Values www.iahv.org

Sewa International www.sewausa.org

India Heritage Research Foundation: www.ihrf.com

Federation of Jain Associations of North America http://jaina.org/



In India, you may contribute to:

Sewa Bharathi Tamil Nadu, Shakti,
1 M.V. Street
, Pachvati, Chetpet, Chennai- 600031, Tamil Nadu, India. Income-tax benefit under section 80G is available.

Gayatri Parivar: http://www.awgp.org/english/donation/resource_donation.html

All India Movement for Seva www.aimforseva.org

BAPS Care International www.bapscare.org

International Association for Human Values www.iahv.org

India Heritage Research Foundation: www.ihrf.com

Mata Amritanandamayi Center https://www.mothersbooks.org/donations/make-a-donation.html



If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. These are my personal endorsements and not of any group I am affiliated with.

Mihir Meghani, M.D.



Treasurer, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Northern California Chapter (www.aapio.org)

Member, Board of Directors, American Academy for Emergency Medicine in India (www.aaemi.org)

Member, Disaster Medical Assistance Team of the the San Francisco Bay Area (www.dmatca6.org)

Jewish Community organizes prayer services for Tsunami Victims

Indo-American Political Action Committee of Greater Houston known as IAPAC, India Culture Center, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Gujarati Samaj of Houston, and Indo-American Charity Foundation along with other Indo-American Organizations are extending the invitation to you, your family and friends to join the prayer meeting for the Tsunamis' victims and their bereaved family members, organized by the Jewish Community.

The event will also include Government leaders and representatives from the nation of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and others. We hope you will plan to attend this important event to express our concern and compassion for those who have been touched by this disaster, and also to show our appreciation to Jewish Community for organizing such an event.

The services will be held at 7:30 P.M. Sunday, January 9, 2005 at Congregation Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Blvd., Houston. For directions, please click èè Directions

Please forward this email to your friends, relatives, and members of your religious or social organizations.

For further information about the event, please call: IAPAC - Jagat Kamdar 281-460-6771 & Dinesh Shah 281-242-8494 IACC - Dr. Randhir Sinha 281 332 2464 & Jagdip Ahluwalia 832-746-8372 ¡ü ICC - Vale Subramaniam 281-685-0081 Gujarati Samaj - Prakash Patel 281-596-9956 ¡ü IACF - Manmeet Likhari 281-265-2872

Tsunami Report from Ramakrishna Math-Kolkata

Detailed report of the relief work done by Ramakrishana Mission in India Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands -- (Forwarded by) Mr.Sundaram Iyer Seethalakshmi sseethalakshmi@hotmail.com

www.geocities.com/hsitah9/Tsunamireportason041005.doc

Friday, January 07, 2005

Self-less service rendered by Sewa International organization



Visit : www.sewainternational.com

Tsunami relief work: Self-less service rendered by Sewa International organization

Our tributes to the hundredsof swayamsevaks (hindu volunteers) who have been rendering and continue to render seva (service to society).

This is perhaps among the best offerings to Hindumahasagar Samaj in this extraordinary moment of grief -- an affirmation of vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the world is a family). -- Kalyanaraman

Art of Living Foundation gives Rs.150 crore tsunami aid

Saturday January 8 2005 00:00 IST
IANS
http://www.newindpress.com/coastalcalamity/News.asp?Topic=-

367&Title=&ID=IE920050107105319&nDate=&Sub=&Cat=&


COLOMBO: Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,www.artofliving.org/v2/index.asp
touring tsunami-hit areas in Sri Lanka, has donated
Rs.1.5 billion through his Art of Living Foundation
towards relief operations in Sri Lanka and India.

The spiritual leader oversaw relief work being done by
volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation www.artofliving.org/v2/index.aspin this
island nation.

For relief operations in Sri Lanka, the first
consignment of tents worth $60,000 has arrived in
Colombo. Volunteers are visiting affected areas in Sri
Lanka including Jaffna. Forty doctors from the
foundation are working in the medical camps.

The foundation is planning to set up orphanages and
homes for destitute women in the affected areas in
India and Sri Lanka.

On Thursday, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar met Prime Minister
Mahinda Rajpakse and discussed emergency relief
measures and long-term rehabilitation of the affected
people.

The foundation is running a large refugee camp in Port
Blair, Andamans. Two hundred tonnes of relief material
has been airlifted to the Andamans Islands and 300,000
litres of drinking water sent, a foundation release
said.

The spiritual leader is visiting tsunami-hit people in
Tamil Nadu on Friday.

VPS Efforts for Tsunami Relief

By Rajiv Ramaratnam


The impact of the Tsunami and its aftermath has left behind a trail of carnage, death and destruction on several countries across the globe. The members of Vrindavana Preservation Society are committed to doing everything in their power to alleviate the grief of the victims of this disaster.



Some of us have lost loved ones. Some among us are missing friends or relatives. Many of our brothers or sisters have suffered major injuries. In fact this catastrophe has impacted some members of VPS personally.



It has always been our goal to extend help, support and comfort to everyone we can. As firm believers in the power of prayer, VPS has organized several Bhajans, chanting sessions and readings from the Bhagavat Gita to pray for the victims and comfort their families.



VPS plans to conduct more of these sessions in the forthcoming weeks. These sessions are open to all interested parties. Please visit www.vps-international.org and visit the Tsunami relief page for more information on the Bhajan sessions.



Prayers alone will not be enough. In the spirit of Karma Yoga, a few VPS members, Dennis Kelley, Charran Mahadeo, Nick Cavallo and Keshav Shukla, have decided to visit Chennai and help with the Tsunami Relief efforts. VPS President Keshav Shukla and the others will join Venkata Dayanandan a member of VPS who relocated to Chennai two years ago. Venkata is presently volunteering to help those affected by the Tsunami



Their efforts will include
Supporting schools, which were destroyed by the Tsunami.
Supporting centers for those rendered homeless by the disaster
Distribution soap, water, food, clothing etc.
Organizing and conducting Bhajan programs in the local temples.
Helping with cleaning projects.
Distribution of fliers containing information on healthiest

If you have not yet donated to any organization then please consider donating a check payable to VPS. VPS will be working with the local people and 100% of your donation will be used for the cause. Your donations are tax deductible.

Please send your donation to
Vrindavan Preservation Society, 226 Billings Street, Quincy

Please write “Tsunami Relief Donation” on the memo section of the check.

We thank you in advance for your generosity.

It is in times like these that our resolve is tested. Let us stay united as one family and aid the victims and the grief-stricken in every possible way. Even if we reduce this ocean of suffering by a drop, it will not be wasted effort. Please keep us in your prayers so that we may continue to do this selfless service. For more information on VPS, visit us online at www.vps-international.org.

Put your faith in Him and have no other thought; By his grace you shall have peace

-Bhagavad Gita

Thursday, January 06, 2005

RELIEF WORK IN TAMILNADU BY ABVP

TSUNAMI DISASTER, AFTERMATH AND RELIEF WORK IN TAMILNADU BY ABVP


Monster Tsunami (killer tidal waves) unleashed by a massive earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, off Sumatra coast in Indonesia struck the entire coast of Tamil Nadu at around 8.30am on 26th Dec 2004. This was preceded by mild tremors of different magnitudes in different parts of Tamil Nadu. The worst affected areas in Tamil Nadu are the Nagapattinam district and the adjoining Cuddalore district. At Chennai children playing on the marina beach and the morning walkers on the beach were washed away by the Tidal waves. At Kanyakumari devotees who were engaged in the holly dip in the seashore were completely washed away by high tides.

Outcome of Tsunami in Coastal T.N

• Over 10 Lakhs rendered Homeless
• More than 10 thousand dead
• Another 15 thousand Missing
• Still the casualty could not be ascertained

According to the official sources human loss in Tamil Nadu, till 29th Dec 2004, is about 7500 (Including pony). Thousands are reported missing and lakhs rendered homeless. But the actual toll may cross 15000 because most of missing were buried under the earth. Old aged persons; women and children were mostly perished in the seashore. Most of the fishermen hamlets along the coastal Tamil Nadu have been complete by washed away by seawater and the total property loss may amount to Thousands of crores.

The relief work involving the removal of dead bodies and disposing them off and providing food and shelter to the survivors were immediately undertaken by the government agencies and a number of voluntary organizations and is still continuing. Public response to the relief work is spontaneous. In spite of greater efforts, the relief work is yet to reach some of the remote areas. In Nagapattinam where the damage is extensive, the search for the dead bodies and survivors still goes on. Heavy rain on 27th Dec 2004 also hampered the relief activities. There is fear among the public about the spread of epidemic diseases and revival of Tsunami attack.

Participation of ABVP in the relief work

As in the previous occasions, volunteers of Sangha Pariwar organizations were the first to reach the places of disaster for rescue and relief operations. At Chennai RSS organized two relief centers, one in north Chennai and another in south Chennai, to coordinate the relief works. In Nagapattinam, relief work undertaken by RSS is more than the one by the district administration. The Sangha karyakarthas are working under the banner of ‘SEVABHARATHI, TAMILNADU’.

Through out the state ABVP workers responded spontaneously and involved in different kinds of relief activities. At Chennai a four-member team immediately visited the affected areas with in Two hours and started rescuing people to safer places by involving a group of Parishad workers. food packets water packets and clothes were distributed at 6 centers for 2 days. In Kanyakumari district our workers engaged in rescue works in different locations. At Madurai, Trichy, and Coimbatore Parishad workers started material collection. They have also deputed some workers to Nagapattinam (The worst affected area) to join the RSS volunteers working there.

What ABVP has done within Three days

• 12,000 Food Packets and 40,000 Water Packets, 20 carton boxes clothes distributed in Chennai and suburban areas. Around 50 workers actively Involved
• 200 Activists from 4 districts has gone to Nagapattinam to carry out relief work – working along with Seva Bharathi
• Two lorry loads of materials including Rice, Blankets, Medicines, Bread, Biscuit Packets dispatched from Madurai to Nagapattinam
• Collected Medicines, Clothes, Blankets, Food grains
• In Kanyakumari district, our volunteers were engaged in the rescue and relief operations in different of localities.



Further relief measures Planned by ABVP,TN

Now we are planning in bigger way to go ahead with relief and rehabilitation programmes. ABVP has decided to undertake rehabilitation work in selected areas only. Some of the further plans are …

• Distribution of food, clothing, Bedding
• Ascertaining loss on school education and providing necessary material assistance
• Medical Checkup for School Children
• Working in Nagapattinam for either burying or burning dead bodies





What is required?

• Donate New Clothes & Blankets
• Donate Medicines
• Donate Food Items, Bread and Biscuits
• Donate Note Books, Text Books and other School Stationeries
• Donate Cash to do relief activities in the Affected Areas


Time to act

• It is an occasion to share others pain, grief and Sorrows and also “Contribute a small token of Money or in any form of kind”


Where to Donate

ABVP
No: 35 Shivaji Street
T.Nagar
Chennai – 600 017
Ph: 044 – 24343457
044 – 24312359
abvp_tn@vsnl.net
abvpsurendran@yahoo.com

• You can send cheques in the name of “ ABVP TSUNAMI RELEIF FUND “- Payable at Chennai

• For IT exemption under 80 G draw cheque in the name of “Elaya Bharatham Seva Trust” - payable at Chennai

Auroville rallies to help Pondicherry fisherfolk:::Francois Gautier

December 30, 2004


The first wave of the tsunami hit the Pondichery and Tamil Nadu coast at 8 am on December 26. Seven thousand people died on the spot.

By 9.30 am, a team from Auroville, the international township inspired by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and which is situated near Pondichery, swung into action. A first emergency meeting was called in the house of two Auroville residents and it was immediately decided to set up a camp for the people affected by the tidal waves.

By 12 pm, eight tents and seven shamianas were erected on a field near one of the Auroville communities. Two portable 5,000 litres tanks, two generators, a field kitchen with four cooking ranges, monitored by eight ladies and four cooks, were put into service. Three of Auroville's load carriers, two tractors and two buses to pick up refugees were also commissioned.

The camp was manned by more than 60 Tamil youth from the villages within Auroville as well as many Aurovillians from all parts of the world.

By 2 pm, 750 people were fed and 350 food packets distributed. All throughout the afternoon, refugees kept streaming in. Another 1,200 people were fed in the evening. Blankets were arranged as the night was cold and windy.

On the second day, everyone was moved to the Kuilapalayam Trust School, which is run by Auroville, as there was a threat of rain. The refugees were spread out in eight buildings as well as two tents. Food was cooked this time for 1,400 people; another 500 food packets were prepared for distribution. Clothes and blankets were handed out.

The extent of the disaster was becoming clear by then. A quick survey was conducted amongst the villages and the Auroville communities that dot the beach. In Ganagashetikkam, a village of fishermen at the extreme limit of Pondicherry, the Auroville team was met by extreme desolation: the mud houses on the beach front had been destroyed or washed away. Broken furniture lay besides the road, television sets beyond repair were put into the sun to dry, pieces of thatched roof blocked the road, power lines had fallen down, the steps leading to an old temple had collapsed.

Three days after the catastrophe, women were wailing in sheer desolation. On the beach, the team met Ranjani (left). That fateful morning, her parents had gone to the market to sell the fish they had caught earlier that morning and she was left alone with her three-year-old little sister, Anasuya. She was cooking the morning's meal, when suddenly her sister clung onto her. Ranjani looked up and saw a huge wave advancing towards the house.

"I climbed onto a stool. As the water reached my shoulders, I clung onto a rafter from the roof with one hand while holding my screaming sister with the other," she sobbed. "After a few minutes my hands went numb and suddenly I saw that my sister had disappeared."

Ranjani cried and cried for help, but nobody came. Anasuya was found a few hours later, a kilometre upstream in the flooded village, dead. Tweenty-six other people, mostly children and the elderly, lost their lives. Seventy-five houses were destroyed and 265 families affected one way or the other by the tsunami which hit Ganagashetikkam.

Next to Ganagashetikkam, one finds Eternity, an Auroville beach community. There lives a wonderful family: Yuval, the father, is an Israeli, his wife Hannah (right) is from Holland. They have five children, all raised in Auroville, each of them speaking several languages. Twenty years ago, Yuval and his family settled down on a piece of barren land on the beach where nothing grew. With hard work and dedication, they turned it into a green forest, a place of beauty and peace. They also painstakingly built houses in the community, mostly using local material: mud walls, palmyra leaves, thatch roofs, with one solitary concrete house.

On the morning of the 26th, Hannah had one of her daughters, Jitta, with her. Jitta has two children: a daughter of two and a son who is barely eight months old. As usual in Auroville, where everybody sleeps early, everyone woke at 6 am for early morning tea in the community kitchen. At 6.30 am, Yuval felt the earth shake and asked his wife in jest, "if she was dancing on the bed." At 8.15 am, Jitta decided to put her son back to sleep on the ground floor of a house which was 200 metres away.

Everything looked so peaceful and no different from a thousand other mornings in the Eternity beach community. Suddenly Hannah heard a noise that sounded like the rushing of water. She went outside. "I saw this huge wave rushing toward me and it immediately flashed in my mind: 'Tidal Wave'." She grabbed her granddaughter, climbed to the first floor and asked her daughter to rush and get her son.

Jitta ran, with the water already swirling around her, got her baby just as he was being swept away, shouted at two guests who were sleeping in another hut -- who would have otherwise died -- and seeing that there was no way to go back to where her mother was, ran towards higher ground on the opposite side of Eternity beach.Yuval and Hannah saw no sign of Jitta and her son and thought they had died. "We screamed and screamed and scanned every part of the community. The water was still rising," Hannah recalls, weeping.

When the second wave receded, they found their daughter and grandchild alive.

Yuval and Hannah have lost everything and are painstakingly trying to salvage some of their personal belongings, thanks to an amazing wave of solidarity amongst Aurovillians and a lot of help from the nearby village.

"I put so much work in this land and God took everything back, but he spared our lives and that is a miracle," says Hannah. Like the other residents of Ganagashetikkam, their lives have been shattered. Hannah still breaks down from time to time when she recalls the time she thought her daughter and grandson were dead, taken away by the terrible tsunami.

By the fourth day, it became clear to Aurovillians that they had to shift from immediate relief measures to long-term solutions for the affected villages.

Houses had to be rebuilt, lives had to be rebuilt, and more than that, fishermen the most affected group in Tamil Nadu, had to be given back their dignity, that is the means to earn their livelihood once more; that means boats and fishing nets, which were destroyed by the tsunami.This is why it was decided to form a more permanent group. Areas were divided into north and south zone (villages) with a team and a leader each, to assess needs. A food group was constituted to stock and distribute food. A communication cell with an office, telephone, computers, an e-mail and a web site was obtained from Auroville.

Transparency was ensured by creating an accounting team and channeling funds through two newly created accounts in Auroville's existing financial infrastructure which offers a tax rebate and a foreign donations facility (see below).

"What we need," one team member said, "is approximately Rs 50,000 (about $1,000) to rebuild a house, Rs 100,000 (about $2,000) for a boat with an engine and another Rs 100,000 for fishing nets. Thus a total of Rs 250,000 (about $5,000) per affected family. We have taken charge of 225 families in our area. It is a lot of money."

How to contribute to the Auroville Tsunami Fund

FOREIGN FUNDS

BANK TRANSFER via SWIFT following details:

Bank Name: State Bank of India
Branch: Auroville International Branch
Branch Code: 03160
Beneficiary Account Name: AV Fund Foreign
Beneficiary Account Number: 01000060095
Details/other Information: Village Flood Relief OR Auroville Beaches Relief


SWIFT CODE: SBININBB474

Under details please specify if you want the funds to go to Village Relief or for Auroville Beaches Relief. You could also give a percentage allocation.

FOREIGN CHEQUES

Please make your cheques payable to "Auroville Fund - Foreign" and send to the address below.

INDIAN FUNDS

Cheque/DD to be made payable to "AUROVILLE FUND". On the reverse of the cheque please write if it is meant for Village Flood Relief OR Auroville Beaches Relief.

DDs payable at Pondicherry.

Please send the cheques to:

Auroville Tsunami Rehabilitation
Opposite Aurelec, Kuilapalayam
Auroville 605 101, Tamil Nadu, India.
E-mail tsunami@auroville.org.in
Phone: 0413 - 2622184.

Please note that Indian donations are exempted under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

Francois Gautier

Live-wire Narendra Modi leaves even Central Government speechless

Live-wire Narendra Modi leaves even Central Government speechless

Author: Ravindra Dani

Publication: Mumbai Tarun Bharat

Date: December 31, 2004

New Delhi, 30th - (Agencies)

Following the terrible Tsunami waves to the South India, while deliberations were being held to convene the meeting of Crisis Management Group (CMG), the Chief Minister of a state on Western Coast, Gujarat, was presiding over the meeting of its CMG.

The meeting of CMG of Gujarat was held first and meeting CMG of Central Government later. The high speed with which the CM of Gujarat made preparations to meet the coming calamity has left the officers of Central Government amazed.

Following is a look at the style of functioning of Narendra Modi.

Morning: 9.30: Meeting of the team for Disaster Management

Morning: 10.30: Decision of helping Tsunami victims

Morning: 11.00: Message of consolation and sympathy sent to chief of the governments of Thailand, Sumatra, Indonesia.

Afternoon: 2.00 p.m. Programme of relief operations sketched and stocktaking
done.

Evening: 5.00 Two planes loaded with relief equipment ready for flight.

Tsunami waves had hit Tamilnadu, Keral, and Andaman-Nicobar. But the lightening speed with which Modi was engaged in the relief work, has earned the admiration of the Central Government officers.

Modi established a control room for relief work in Gandhinagar. In this work, he took a very important step. To keep contact with Tamilnadu Government, he selected Tamil speaking officers from Gujarat, for coordinating with Kerala, he selected Malayalam Officers and he did the same thing about Andaman. He was in constant touch with Lt Government of Andaman, Ram Kapse to get a chance for the planes from Gujarat to land on the Port Blair aerodrome.

He was personally supervising what material should be sent to South Indian states. While selecting the material for relief work, the officers had listed Kurta and Pyjama. Modi corrected to read it as "Lungi - Shirt". The officers did not have the presence of mind to remember that where the relief material was being sent, people wear Lungi and Shirts and not Kurta-Pyjama, but Modi had it.

While the Disaster Management team of Central Government was surveying the areas, Modi selected 67 highly affected talukas and appointed 67 Officers. Every officer was directed to look after his own Taluka. He also directed them to take the cooperation of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other voluntary organization.

www.savarkariahindutwa@yahoo.com

Vivekananda Kendra, Port Blair relief activities : REPORT

Vivekanda Kendra, Port Blair

Vivekananda Kendra, Port Blair has taken up relief activities in a
regular basis and the details are as follows:

*) In the fisheries colony of the Port Blair municipal area (ward nos.
7, 8 & 9), we have distributed Rice, Dal, Masala, other food items
like milk, biscuits and toiletries to the people for a couple of days.
Drinking water was also provided in this locality.

*) Medical team led by Dr. Sai Lakshmi from Chennai, Dr. Ashok
Subramaniam (ENT specialist from the G B Pant Hospital) and Dr. Milind
Sharad Kulkarni conducted medical camps by which, the following
villages were benefited: Chouldari, Guptapara, Manjeri, New Wandoor,
Sippi Ghat, Hasmatabad, Wandoor, Manglutan, and Fishermen colony of
Port Blair.

*) Clothes (New and old) and 2800 T-shirts with picture of Swami
Vivekananda were distributed.

*) Along with Seva Bharati, Kendra volunteers also have gone to conduct
survey and medical camp) in the most affected island of Andaman – Hut
Bay.

*) Teams of V K V teachers visited the victims' houses in Junglighat
area and cleaned their submerged houses.

*) Separate teams of teachers are regularly visiting the relief camps
of Port Blair, Chouldari, Wandoor, Manglutan, Guptapara, Manjeri,
Garacharma, Bhatu Basti, Sippi Ghat, Hasmatabad and nearby areas to
entertain the affected children by patriotic songs and interesting
games, to reduce the effect of the trauma caused by the tragedy.

*) Also our Karyakartas find time to sit and talk with the affected
people of the relief camp to share their feelings and hence reducing
their depression. This was highly appreciated by many among them.

*) Apart from this we have distributed sanitary items, toiletries,
clothes and food items by enquiring the specific need individually.

*) 'Dweep Peedit Sahayata Samity' – the joint action team formed by all
like-minded organisations to take up the relief and rehabilitation
works through out the Andaman district has its head office functioning
in Vivekananda Kendra premises, Port Blair.

Secretary,      
06-01-2005

Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari

Report on the emergency relief provided to those affected by Tsunami
in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts

Vivekananda Kendra provided material assistance worth about Rs.4 lakhs
and this was distributed on three days, viz., 29, 30 & 31 December.
Shri A. Balakrishnanji, Vice President, Shri Bhanudasji, General
Secretary, Sister Shantha, Secretary, RDP, Shri P. Thangaswamiji,
Administrative Officer, Shri Avinashji, Public Relations Officer, and
many social workers of RDP took part in the functions. The local
officials and the general pubic also extended their cooperation and
participated. Vivekananda Kendra has taken up a massive total
rehabilitation of 1,000 affected families in Kanyakumari & Tirunelveli
Dts, supported by the Help-age India.

Relief provided to individual families

Provided with sarees, skirts, dhoties, towels, plates, tumbers, soap, oil etc.:

1. Kanyakumari Dist.Sambasivapuram village, Collachel. (Kurunthankode
Block): 70 families

2.Muttam & Azhikal villages Vellichanthai (Kurunthankode Block): 240 families

3. Veerabagupathi and Keelaputhalam villages, Rajakkamangalam Block: 39 families

4. Tirunelveli District Idinthakarai village, Radhapuram Block: 98 families

Material provided at the venues of relief camps

Periavillai village, Kurunthancode Block: Two bags of rice, other
provisions, vegetables, bread & biscuits; valuee Rs, 5000

Vellichanthai Kurunthancode Block, Thalavaipuram Kurunthancode Block,
DVD Government Higher Secondary School, Nagercoil : Milk powder, Bread
and Biscuits, Phenol, Bleaching powder; value Rs. 2000 for each of
three blocks

CHENNAI AREA

300 Families were given a kit consisting : a big plastic bucket, a
mug, twp plates, a glass, a stove, a mat, a bed sheet, two vessels, a
ladle - in the villages of Karikaattu kuppam, Kovalam and Nadu
kuppam. The total value will be Rs. 1,50,000/-

200 Families near Cuddalore were given the above kits worth Rs. 1,00,000/-

3500 persons were fed on 26th in a community kitchen.
For Andaman & Nicobar Islands : Consignments worth Rs. 8,00,000/- in
the form of clothing and food material was sent.


Relief work for tsunami victims conducted by AIM for Seva
(a compilation)

Update from AIM For Seva Disaster Relief Centre, 30 December 2004
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti

Dear Sevaks,

Om Namo Narayanaya.

Below is a brief update of the help being rendered at Pondicherry,
Chennai and Tirunelveli.

Today AIM for Seva Tirunelveli called for help. We sent a truck-load
of rice, dal and utensils which is most needed there at this time for
the victims of the tragedy.

We request our sevaks to please stop collecting clothes, as all our
areas of help have more than adequate clothing. We now require help
mainly in collecting funds and directing them to Anaikatti,
Coimbatore.

In terms of materials, people may send food materials such as rice,
dal and oil; mats, bedsheets, cooking utensils, plates, steel
tumblers, spoons. If at all people insist on giving clothes, request
them for new clothes only.

SITE HELP

From Pondicherry:

A group of people went along with old cloths, blankets, ricebags,
sugar, oil and distributed in Kalapet area and Devanampattinam area of
Cuddalore. Here in Pondicherry the government is helping in full
swing. We, as AIM for Seva, are concentrating more in Tamilnadu areas
from Parangipettai in Chidambaram to east coast upto Marakanam.
With the monetary contributions from the members, bread loafs and
biscuits were brought and distributed to the affected regions. The
past three days a group of around 5 to 7 members of AIM for Seva,
Pondicherry Chapter, have been working the entire day for the affected
people.The Puthupattu temple is where clothes and food packets were
given.

From Chennai:

Collection of money, clothes and other items from different apartment
complexes and houses was carried out by AIM for Seva Chennai for
distribution in the coastal villages.
One load of material was sent to Kovalam/Kelambakkam area yesterday
where a new relief camp at Pudukalpakkam was opened near the Crocodile
farm on the East Coast Road. 140 people were identified stranded in
this area and distribution of food and water was started. The nearby
Mariamman temple is the venue for the distribution of food etc for
these people.

On the 29th December, the AIM for Seva Chenai team went to Kovalam and
other coastal villages upto Kokkilamedu near Kalpakkam to survey the
area. The villagers are receiving sufficient food and clothes for now.
When asked what they are planning to do in the near future to get on
with their livelihood, they all told that when the waves hit, they
just ran without taking anything with them. They are just now
returning back and looking into the damages. All the properties like
houses, boats and nets are either damaged or totally lost. They need
monetary help to put things together again and start their life. They
said that their priority is to get back to their job and that they
don't even need food and other materials if they can start venturing
into the sea again.

AIM for Seva Chennai plans to adopt Kovalam and some other villages
around Kovalam to provide them with sustainable livelihood. Monetary
help in the form of aid or interest free or low interest loans will be
provided so that they can buy new boats and nets or repair their
damaged properties and get back to work.
A boat costs around Rs. 80000 and the cost of nets range from Rs.
5000- Rs. 20000. Even to repair a boat it may cost more than Rs. 10000
per boat, depending on the damage; and it may cost up to Rs.5000 to
repair a net.

In the Kovalam area around 40 houses have also been damaged and
assistance in rebuilding their houses, maybe in different and safer
areas will be carried out under AIM for Seva under the village
adoption scheme. The books and note books of the children have been
destroyed. Hence there is an immediate need to provide assistance so
that they can buy books and pay school fees to continue with their
education.

The AIM for Seva team resumed collecting relief materials to be able
to render help to the villagers when they need it. Right now, the
priority is to collect money and provisions and then provide them
assistance to start their work. Government has announced monetary
assistance for those who are affected to rebuild their houses and
boats. We will also be working to make sure the government funds reach
the proper beneficiaries and take help from government wherever it is
possible.

Please send information and enquiries to
lasaji@vsnl.com Phone calls may go to 0422-2657001 /02.
With prayers and love,
Swamini Pramananda
* * *
Update from AIM for Seva Disaster Relief Centre 02/01/2005
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti

Dear Gurubhais and Sevaks,
As the focus has begun to shift from material relief to possibilities
of reconstruction and rehabilitation work in various areas, our AIM
for Seva volunteers are in different areas such as Nagapattinam,
Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Chennai exploring ways in which AIM for Seva
can work with the officials in this regard.
Given below is a report that was shared with us from Manjakkudi - A
group of 800 people, the panic stricken victims of the Tsunami
disaster, mainly women and children, left their homes and belongings
and had taken shelter in a Kalyana Mandapam at Koradacheri near
Manjakkudi. One band of AIM for Seva volunteers from Manjakkudi
organized food supply to the affected group. After two days the
villagers returned to their homes. They were provided transport using
Manjakkudi college buses.
On December 30, 2004, our AIM for Seva volunteers visited the harbour
area near Nagapattinam to get an overview of the extent of damage
caused by the Tsunami. There was devastation as far as the sight could
see. Most of the houses had been flattened to the ground. The fishing
vessels were scattered all over the area. The weight of each vessel is
more than 20 tons and is valued at Rs. 40 lakhs each. Some of them
smashed together in a group. Thousands of dead bodies had been
disposed off. AIMfor Seva along with volunteers from other
organizations had been working round the clock and altogether handled
the cremation of over 2000 bodies.
The next day, 31st of December 2004, the volunteers went to Seruthur.
An eerie silence greeted them. It was a picture of desolation and
destruction in the wake of the Tsunami. There were over 650 houses in
that village, of which 300 houses had been swept away. Of the 200
dead, most of them were children and women. One of the local residents
said that in the stretch between Vedaranyam and Tharangampadi, a whole
generation of children has been swept away.
AIM for Seva is surveying with the government officials various
options for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the survivors of
the Tsunami affected in the Nagapattinam area.
We are grateful to our AIM for Seva centers in Pune, Surat, Bangalore,
Delhi and Rishikesh for their immediate response in sending relief
materials.
With love and prayers,
Swamini Pramananda
* * *
Update from AIM for Seva Disaster Relief Centre 03/01/2005
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti

Dear Gurubhais and Sevaks,
Om Namo Narayanaya
The influx of relief materials flooding in the Tsunami affected areas,
has taught us that there is no scarcity of anything in the world. Our
world is rich not only in material wealth but also in the human hearts
which, rich in generosity, share with their fellow human beings
whatever they can, in times of need.
We are grateful to all of you, who have come forward to support AIM
for Seva work in the Tsunami affected areas, with material and
financial contributions, pouring out your heart in empathy. We have
reached a stage in our work now, where we need to step up our efforts
to the next level of rehabilitation of the affected areas. This
includes repairing the boats and the nets, and helping the fishermen,
bring back their lives to normalcy as soon as possible. We also have
plans for the reconstruction of the homes for many who lost
everything. For all this work, we need huge sums of funds.
We appeal to you all to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction
work by your generous donations. Help us to help the Tsumani affected
people. Even though our relief work was spread out to various coastal
areas, our rehabilitation work will be concentrated to a few villages
in Tiruvarur and Cuddalore districts.
Given below is our brief Site report from Pondichery-Cuddalore
Relief material was sent from Coimbatore to Cuddalore. Aim for Seva
volunteers from Pondichery helped in receiving, sorting and recording
the material dispatched from Coimbatore.
The district administration is struggling with the flood of materials
received at the camps set up for receiving materials. Volumes as 2500
tons of relief materials (which does not include clothes) have
arrived. More number of lorries and trucks are arriving from different
parts of the country without any clue to as to where to deliver or
distribute the material. The Government has prevented private agencies
from receiving relief materials. The government has taken over the
relief material distribution to the affected families. Unfortunately
there has been wayside looting of trucks carrying relief material on
the outskirts of the town.
There is an influx of large number of people in the relief camps
demanding cooked food, clothes and blankets. This is due to the fact
that the Government has banned fishing for the next 30 days for the
fishermen-folk. This is because of the contamination of the shoreline
due to dead bodies and carcasses of animals. These fishermen, are from
the villages which were not affected by Tsunami. But they also need to
be given food until government allows them to resume their normal
life.
Our volunteers are exploring the possibilities of constructing
dwelling places, community hall cum classroom for primary school
children in villages to the north of Pondicherry and also in Cuddalore
district.
With love and prayers,
Swamini Pramananda

* * * * * * * * *

Donations to AIM for Seva should be sent :

(a) IN INDIA, contributions are exempted under Sec. 80G of the IT
act. Cheques / Drafts may be drawn in favour of "AIM for Seva",
Coimbatore and sent directly to:
All India Movement for Seva      
c/o Swamini Pramananda      
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam      
Anaikatti Post      
Coimbatore 641 108      
(Tamil Nadu)      
Tel: 0422- 2657001 /02

(b) IN THE USA, make a tax-deductible donation on-line @
www.aimforseva.org [Note: please check "Tsunami Support" after
clicking the "DONATE NOW" button.] or Send your check/Credit card info
to:

All India Movement (AIM) for Seva
c/o Janet Falk
PO Box 639
Saylorsburg, PA 18353
http://www.aimforseva.org
(570) 402-1244 (phone), (570) 992-9680 (fax)
janetf@aimforseva.org