Ashram Concludes Relief Work for Flood Victims in
29 August 2005 -- Mumbai, Maharashtra
The Ashram has completed its relief work in
Mumbai, where it has spent the past three weeks
providing food, essential supplies and medical
aid to victims of the monsoon-spawned flooding.
Dr. Chandrasekhar, a brahmachari based at the
Amrita Kripa Charitable Hospital in Amritapuri,
was one of three doctors sent by Amma to Mumbai
in order to diagnose and treat flood victims
there, as well as to distribute medicines.
"The worst-hit areas were the slums in place
likes Kalyan, Badlapur, Kurla and Panvel," said
Dr. Chandrasekhar upon his return to Amritapuri. "When
went there, we found that--although most of the first
volunteer organizations to arrive on the scene had
already departed--that many people had still not received
their medicines. Even though the rains were still coming,
people were willing to stand in queues to receive our
medicines. This showed us how desperate the people
were for help."
The medical teams sent by the Ashram comprised three
doctors, two fully equipped ambulances, seven paramedics,
two nurses and two pharmacists. They attended to more
than 1,500 patients every day and distributed a total
of two tones of medicines [value of Rs. 20 lakh or
$46,500 U.S.D.] that were sent from the Ashram's AIMS
Hospital in Cochin. Due to the large number of patients
attending each camp, the medical team ran out of medicines
at one stage. In appreciation of the great work being
rendered by them, the Chief Minister
of Maharashtra, Vilasarao Desmukh asked F.D.A. to provide
medicines to the Ashram for distribution.
Dr. Chandrasekhar said that primarily the
Ashram's medical teams treated the flood victims
for infectious diseases: "We saw a lot of
lung infections, skin infections--the types of
problems that are often seen in those who are
continually in long-standing water. There were
a few cases of malaria, dengue fever, typhoid
and leptospirosis, but nothing that one could
call an epidemic. We also saw many pregnant mothers,
people suffering from malnutrition and anaemia."
The first week the Ashram's medical teams were in
Mumbai, however, their focus was not on distributing
medicines, but on distributing food and household items,
such as kerosene stoves, sleeping mats, bed sheets,
clothing, cooking vessels, rice grain and dhal. This
went on in places such as Nerul, Panvel, Khidkupada
In Nerul, the area in New Mumbai that is home to one
of Amma's branch ashrams, the teams serviced two relief
camps, providing medical service and three meals a
day for six days. Nerul had fallen victim to landslides,
leaving hundreds homeless.
The worst of the monsoon flooding took place on 26th
July, when just shy of one metre of rain fell in
Mumbai in a single day.
"The sad thing is that the worst-affected were
the poor," reflected Dr. Chandrasekhar"Many
of the slum residents lost all their belongings. They
also lost all of their domestic animals, so their means
of livelihood have seriously been affected as well.
But at least now they have the proper footing to begin
the road to recovery."