Art Of Living Foundation, NRIs Aid Chennai Flood Victims

Over 5,000 volunteers, mobilized by the Art of Living Foundation, have come forward to provide relief to the thousands of people in Madras hit by an unprecedented flood and torrential rains last week.

The city is limping back to normalcy after the disaster that killed more than 280 people and displaced and stranded half a million people. The army, navy and air forces have been deployed to rescue marooned people and deliver essentials to the affected areas. AoL joined the effort to supplement relief efforts.

“The people’s homes are filled with river water and drainage. Nothing is usable. They have nothing left.” said Harish Gopalakrishnan, a volunteer with the AoL Foundation. “One of the immediate needs in disaster situations is providing relief – and the challenge lies in coordinating relief efforts,” he said, adding that the non-profit has been able to effectively coorordinate relief efforts and streamline relief distribution.

The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) along with the Art of Living Foundation has initiated a rehabilitation project in Chennai with an emphasis on trauma relief. IAHV has been a global leader in bringing mental fortitude and stress relief to those affected by natural calamities and disasters. “Aside of material needs, unless mental trauma is attended to, it is extremely difficult for the victims to cope, especially those who lost their homes, loved ones or livelihood,” said Madhu Kadari, IAHV treasurer.

The spirit of giving and assistance resonated across the globe as non-resident Indians came together, providing crucial communications and coordination for immediate relief and rescue efforts from several control rooms worldwide. “Our team, responded early to the disaster creating a global volunteer Whatsapp group. It soon became our virtual global control center” said Abitha Narayanan, a volunteer with the Overseas Volunteer for a Better India.

“Rescue and relief requests received from Chennai, and from social media were funneled to the right action teams on the ground, making assistance available to the needy within a short span of time. NRIs across countries handled data collection, prioritization of requests and made direct calls for rescue and relief. We quickly partnered with many other NGOs with the single goal to aid Chennai,” Narayanan said.

Courtsey : News India Times