Jammu & Kashmir: On September 7, 2014, Jammu and Kashmir was rav¬aged by floods due to heavy rainfall. Around two lakh people were badly affected and many villagers in Jammu did not have food, shelter and other basic amenities. More than a month has gone by and their pain has not subsided -the people are still suffering and are in deep anguish.
These rural areas thrive on agricultural output that fulfills both their family needs and helps them to cater other basic requirements. The residents have lost most of their life-long savings and valuable belongings, including their houses, crops, cattle and fodder. Such heavy losses have put the villagers under immense emo¬tional and psychological stress.
The Art of Living believes in helping the needy and spreading happiness. A group of concerned and active members of The Art of living in Jammu has come together to reach out to the flood victims. The active members of this group are Bharat Bhushan Phull, Birender Singh Pawar, Vikram Jain, Delair Singh, Jai Aggarwal (Finance Facilitator), Hemu Karki, Meenu Bindral, Prabha Salathia, Neerja, Lalit and Arvind. They visited the affected areas almost every alternative day to get a first-hand experience of the problems.
Nav Chetna Shibirs were organized to provide people with the emotional strength to overcome their prob¬lems. These Shibirs were held in Bhagatpur (Marh block) from 15th to 19th Oc¬tober 2014 and Makwal Camp (Marh Block) from 16th to 20th October 2014. Volunteers visited the flood-af¬fected areas regularly and listened to the grievances of the villagers. For the first few days, they were accompanied by the village sarpanchs, who ex¬plained the condition of the locality.
Volunteer Bhushan Phull said, “When we entered the damaged houses and saw how families were living with no roofs, we were moved. The floods and strong winds had car-ried away the temporary roofs and the poor were forced to find accommoda¬tion under deplorable conditions. We witnessed the elderly and some ailing people lying helplessly on their beds.”
He said, “With medical help seeming far-fetched, there was no end to the list of needy people. Most of them were in need of basic ameni¬ties and all we could do was to provide some of them with clothes, blankets and ration. We spent the first couple of days in distributing tin sheets and cement bags to those who wanted to repair their rooftops. About 200 tin sheets have been distributed.
A lot of funds are needed to fulfill basic demands of the villagers. For instance, in Chaffrey Chak, a house is totally damaged and the head of the family is a heart patient without any source of income. His child is also due for a surgery and he is unable to bear the medical costs. Another family of five daughters has lost all the belong¬ings.
Bhushan Phull added, “In Sury¬achak, we helped repair houses by providing fifty bags of cement. In Harsatokrian, we came across one family that did not have a shelter and also witnessed an old man who was bed-ridden.” Solar lights were distrib¬uted in Bhagatpur by SSRDP trusties RM Dhawan and Deepak Sharma.
Several flood victims have ob¬tained relief under the Nav Chetna Shi¬bir. Many more are waiting for their turn. The Art of Living has always been a ray of hope for those in the dark and has helped the poor and needy. Volun¬teers have helped victims to develop inner strength to overcome their prob¬lems. Gurudev’s blessings and guid¬ance will help everyone steer through misery and pain, steadily and easily, says Birender Singh, an Art of Living teacher.
Project Coordinator Bharat Bhushan Phull can be reached at (+91) 9796244888.