‘You saved our lives’ says flood victim

River Poorna’s fury Flood relief work at Kajoi, Akola district of Maharashtra

Sanjivani Warkade

Akola, Maharashtra: Art of living volunteers were among those who provided selfless service to those affected by the flood in River Poorna in four villages of Maharashtra (Kaajali, Deruwada, Bramhanwada and Belmaandi). The villages are in the districts of Ankola and Amaravati. Yuvacharyas worked for 40 days after the floods struck in July.

These villages were filled with water and rubble, many houses broke down and many people lost their lives. Around 130 families were affected, many people were buried in the rubble.

Volunteers helped in digging those stuck under the rubble. On Sunday in Kajali village around 50 volunteers and Yuvacharyas removed buried belongings of the affected families.

Around 1400 people were living in Kajali. Volunteers helped set up shelters and provided food and cooking vessels and stoves so they could cook and survive.

Villagers vere given meditation and trauma relief programs so that they could cope with the calamity. Next day volunteers cleaned the temple premises too. In another village called Brahmangaon with a population of 3,000, around 100 volunteers went to provide food, clothes and first aid to sick people. Packed food was also provided to the villagers. The volunteers were able to salvage household things like cots, vessels and so on that were buried under the rubble.

YLTP teacher Vyankatesh Mangalram with other nine teachers, yuvachaaryas and volunteers collected clothes and food from Amravati, Varud and Mozari for distribution here. This team was one of the earliest responders to the unfolding crisis.

YLTP coordinator Vyanktesha said that after this they are going to plan medical camps in these villages to regain their health. Free Art of living programs were organized to ensure their physical health and to deal with the emotional and trauma that villagers have gone through. Six Happiness programs, two Yltp and one Art Excel were conducted in Kajadi village.

Villagers were thankful to Art of Living volunteers who helped them in their tough times irrespective of their religion or caste. They helped to find our belongings from the rubble, says Varsha A Raut, a resident of the affected village. With tears in her eyes, another woman said that the volunteers had saved their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Around 27 villages were affected by this flood. People lost their lives, near and dear ones, homes, assets, money, and all crops. So the relief work will continue in the future too. This calamity happened because of excess rain in Madhya Pradesh.

Describing the flood in River Poorna, villagers said a big wave with a length of 15 feet came with high speed. The shutters of the Kajoi dam were opened as a result.

When the flood came it was 11am on Sunday. Houses were filled with water for two hours. Some 200 houses were affected in Brahmanwada and Kajoi.

Moreshwar, who lives in Brahmanwada, says his house and onion crop were damaged. Only 10 quintal onions were left. “We tried to salvage the good ones but couldn’t because of the bad smell. Yuvacharyas help1ed to do this. We were able to sell them in the market and make some money.”

Binay Deshmukh, the village policeman, said, “We will arrange free Art of Living workshops for affected people. We are also planning to build new houses for them.”