From Our Correspondent
The tidal waves of tsunami claimed lakhs of lives and completely ruined over 187 villages in Tamil Nadu alone. According to Bhaiyaji Joshi, Sahsarkaryavah of RSS, who visited the devastated areas, over 3,300 Sangh Swayamsevaks were involved in the relief operation in Tamil Nadu. Talking to media persons in Mumbai on January 7, Shri Joshi said that the Sangh was planning to adopt 10 devastated villages for rehabilitation. He said the tsunami victims do not need expert doctors but the counseling by phycologists to overcome the trauma and depression. He said the Sangh Swayamsevaks had reached the Andamans also with adequate relief material. Relief camps have been organised there by RSS, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
In their mass contact and fund raising drive in Delhi, 15,000 Swayamsevaks collected Rs 15 lakh in a single day on January 1, 2005. As on January 4, they had collected Rs 30 lakh.
The Swayamsevaks buried or cremated 2,475 dead bodies in Tamil Nadu and 115 people were rescued as on January 3, 2005. A total of 3,300 Swayamsevaks are engaged in relief work in the state. In Cuddalore, south of Chennai, a medical camp has been continuing since December 26, 2004. Dr Jayalakshmi, Dr Narayan, Dr Kumaran, Dr Tamizselvan and Dr Anand are some of the doctors who are rendering noble service in these camps. Over 7,000 people have been treated in more than 13 villages. In Nagappatinam, 32 medical camps with 42 doctors are currently rendering services. A total of 13 choultries are being used to accommodate people. Over 2,500 volunteers have taken part in Seva Bharathi’s relief work. So far, 25 tonnes of rice and more than one lakh chapattis have been distributed. A social worker, Smt. Hema from Nilgiri, along with nine lady assistants, are counseling in the camps especially for women. She has helped in infusing confidence to overcome trauma among the victims.
RSS and Seva Bharathi occupy the second place by way of importance, next only to government agencies, in recovering the dead and decayed bodies. On January 1, 16 bodies were recovered from in and around Keechankuppam. The bodies were totally decomposed with insects crawling all over them. In Nagappattinam, the government officials did not allow anybody to carry relief materials beyond a certain point, but Seva Bharathi and RSS workers were allowed to help the suffering people.
In south Tamil Nadu the RSS workers provided vessels and household materials worth Rs 6 lakhs to 1,250 families. They also gave Rs 1,000 each to families who had to perform the last rites of their relatives. Around 580 Swayamsevaks worked in this relief operation. A total of 5,000 persons received help in the various medical camps by RSS and Seva Bharathi.
Meanwhile Vidya Bharati has sent plenty of relief material for the victims of Andamans and Andhra Pradesh on January 4. Giving details of the relief material, Shri Dina Nath Batra, vice president of Vidya Bharati, said that 77 quintals of rice, five quintals of dal, five quintals of flour, five-quintals of wheat, two quintals of salt and three-quintals of sugar had been dispatched to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. He said that relief material dispatched to Andamans included medicines, vessels, kerosene lamps, sweets, biscuits, milk powder, teabags, slippers, clothes, match-boxes, sweaters, blankets, T-shirts, bed-sheets, etc.
Suspending all its agitations, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has also directed its entire cadre to engage in tsunami relief work. VHP general secretary, Dr Pravin Togadia said that after primary relief work the VHP would work for rehabilitation of the victims. He asked the Tamil Nadu government to give Rs 5 lakh each to the family members of the victims.