Two state–of-the art ambulances were sent to the area via rail from Kochi, a total of distance of almost 2,500 km. One of these was AIMS Hospital’s Mobile Telemedicine Unit. It is the size of a city bus and includes X-ray facilities, ECG scanner, pathology-lab-work facility, specialty cardiac services and a telemedicine satellite link with AIMS Hospital. It was first used in MAM’s tsunami-relief work in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Camps: Construction and Life
MAM set up two relief camps. One in Purnia District, and one in Supaul District. The first was completed on 16th September; the second on 11th October. In total, 1,500 flood victims were housed in the shelters. Kitchens and toilets were also provided. At one point, when construction supplies were delayed, brahmacharis and MAM volunteers went to a nearby bamboo forest and fell, loaded and transported construction materials themselves. Having witnessed their dedicated actions, a journalist wrote, “They do not depend on the facilities available to them. They get their work done by sheer will power.”
On August 18, 2008, the Kosi River broke through a man-made embankment in Nepal. The flooding was massive and engulfed half the neighbouring state of Bi¬har in India. The prime minister declared it a national calamity. According to the World Health Organization, 3.3 million people in 1,850 villages were affected, with one million rendered homeless. Crops were devastated and there was no drinking water. In the worst-affected regions, only treetops were visible above the waterline.
13 Nov 2008, Bhuvaneswar, Orissa
Orissa is one of these states in India which undergoes flooding in one part of the state or the other during the monsoons. The annual monsoon season though eagerly awaited, by the farmers of Orissa are also the bane of development or the cause of their sorrow as the river Mahanadi regularly overflows in the Cuttack/Bhubaneswar belt, causing huge loses to the farmers and also destroying property and places in its wake. This year too after more than a decade, there was heavy rainfall in the catchment area as a result of which the river Mahanadi (which means the great river), got heavily flooded and inundated the Banki area of Cuttack in Orissa. It even entered Cuttack city and people of the city had to move to upper floors till the water receded. The floods were so devastating that the Prime Minister of India after visiting the area declared it as a National calamity. The ashram representative Br. Sadasiva visited there and offered relief materials.
During our relief work the MAM distributed several 1000 blankets, medicines, tarpaulins, relief kits, educational kits and other rations to the badly affected flood victims of that region. The flood victims were very grateful to the representatives of the MAM for having come form so far to distribute these relief materials.
4 Oct 2008, Supaul, Bihar
Four more temporary shelters were constructed at Supaul for the flood affected in Bihar. Supaul is the worst flood affected area. Dr. Sarvan Kumar IAS, the district collector inaugurated the temporary shelters.
The Tele-medicine van is going around the villages and the doctors use it to do joint diagnosis of patients with doctors in AIMS. The vast range of equipment is proving to be godsend.
16 September 2008 — Bowanipur, Purnia District, Bihar
The Mata Amritanandamayi Math completed the construction of its first relief camp for victims of the Bihar flood today. The inauguration was conducted in the presence of the Minister for Labour Avdesh Narain Singh, District Magistrate C. Sridhar and Superintendent of Police Sri. B. Meena. The camp will serve as temporary shelter for approximately 500 flood victims until permanent housing can be completed for them. The camps include kitchens and bathrooms. The total area of the three shelters constructed is 6000 sq. foot.
After lighting the lamp, the Minister of Labour addressed the gathering. “When the tsunami left thousands dead and lakhs of people homeless across the country, M.A.M was in the forefront of relief work and subsequently rehabilitated thousands of people by building several thousand houses in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and other places,” he said. “So when a similar calamity occurred in Bihar, we invited them and they immediately arrived with their medical team and started their medical services. Within a short time, they have put up these temporary shelters.”
The minister then added: “The people of M.A.M are working day and night to serve the flood affected. In fact I wonder if they are even sleeping at night. We are very thankful to the Math for accepting our appeal and rushing to help us in time of need.”
The District Magistrate similarly praised the Math for its service, mentioning that this project was the first time the Bihar Government has teamed up with an NGO [Non-Governmental Organization] to setup such a relief camp after the floods. He said that he was certain that it would work out well.
The program concluded with the Minister of Labour cutting the ribbon to the entrance of one of the shelters.
Upon the program’s conclusion, the flood victims promptly moved into their new temporary shelters. Dinner was then served.
10 September 2008 — Amritapuri
Ashram announced today that it will provide two-crore rupees (3,13,596 € *) in flood-relief work in Bihar today.
Teams of doctors, brahmacharis and other volunteers are already working, treating more than 500 patients a day. Construction of temporary shelters for those made homeless by the floods is now underway. Forty lakhs (62,720€ ) worth of medicines have been provided, as well as food, clothing and other necessities.
And an ambulance and Telemedicine Medical Van are currently in route via rail and should reach the region shortly.
*Conversion of Indian rupees into Euros based on the 10 September 2008 exchange rate of one Euro to 63.78 Indian rupees.
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- For Amma, men and women are equal: both have been blessed by God and Nature with unique qualities and talents. For society to grow and flourish, the contributions of both men and women are equally needed at a foundational level. #genderequality #WomenEmpowermentpic.twitter.com/p2gRzKPw8b
- When a Satguru gives a mantra, it is always safe for us. It is like a fragile item such as glass that is shipped with proper packaging around it. Even if such a package falls down, the item inside won’t break, because of the proper packaging. A mantra from a Guru is like that.pic.twitter.com/p5ChHW8J7N
- When we chant hymns, we can surely chant them aloud there is no harm in it. But when we are chanting mantras that have bijaksharas (seed sound syllables), then it is advised not to chant such mantras aloud. It is better to chant such mantras by merely moving the lips. - #Ammapic.twitter.com/bHylBNyT8x
- Eating, sleeping, taking a bath are all karma or action and thus you cannot stay away from the action. Instead, think of what you can do as an offering to the world. - Ammapic.twitter.com/J9VpM13NjJ