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Private rescue initiatives are crucial during current Himalaya flood crisis – increasing rain and thunderstorms put everyone under additional time pressure…

22/06/2013

rishikesh-group
Following the recent heavy rain and landslide crisis in the Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand, where many roads got washed away and more than 70,000 people are stranded, a group of Rishikesh’s travel agents and mountain expedition specialists couldn’t sit idle and teamed up to provide help.

Help for those who lost their homes, the stranded, dehydrated, starving and/or injured people in the mountains. It is an unfathomable situation which requires private initiatives as government support is not sufficient. Communication lines and food supplies in the Himalayas are interrupted or non-existent. Many people and cars are missing, estimated 46,000. Nonstop every day helicopters retrieve people from the region. Newspapers talk about hundreds of deaths but most recent eyewitness reports lead to estimated 10,000-15,000 deaths.

So yesterday a group of 12 local companies (Red Chilli Adventures, Outbound Adventure, Paddle India, De-N-Ascent Expeditions, Questrails, Great Himalayan Expeditions, Garhwal Himalayan Exploration, Sohan Tours & Travel, Step Himalayas, Indo Ganga Holidays, Rush Endless Adventure and Trekt India) got together and organised supplies like water, biscuits, bread, juice, rice, flour, gas cylinders, tents, ropes, blankets, clothes, torches and medicine. This morning at 4:30 am, 11 big Jeeps with about 30 curageous and determined volunteers left for Rudraprayag and Gaurikund. Another supporting truck with further rations of rice, flour, tea, sugar, ropes and clothes followed this evening. Within the next 48 hours we expect heavy rains which will make it more difficult and dangerous to access the area. Time is running…

The aim of said Rishikesh group is to provide food and equipment to help people surviving the coming two monsoon months, a period in which it will be impossible to drive into the mountains to give support. The team has just set up a rescue camp before Gaurikund (Kedarnath), where there are destroyed villages with hundreds of homeless people who have not received any help up until now, neither the army nor other officials came to this area yet. Our crew found also abandoned cars in the river bed nearby. God knows where the passengers are.

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In the meantime lots of other private initiatives popped up. Many pilgrims started to stream back into Rishikesh and are crowding the station, bus stands and ghats. They are in a bad condition and most of them have no more money. Shopkeepers have hiked up their prices on food etc. So here Vanamali Ashram have decided to distribute food packets to all those who are stranded in Rishikesh, instead of sending things up the mountains. We also hear that those people who were rescued are admiring the great help the army is giving.

In this context we ask you to support us and kindly do whatever you can from your side. What can YOU do?

1.) Pray for the stranded people out there and the courageous men who help and risk their lives at the moment. May they all return safely to their respective homes and families.
2.) If you can and want to give money (for more cars and supplies) please ask us for our Indian bank account coordinates or transfer money through Paypal. Every penny/cent/rupee counts! It is a very easy procedure – https://www.paypal.com/in/webapps/mpp/make-online-payments – just enter this email address:  newsformarina@mail.com
3.) Bring required supplies directly to our office in Badrinath Road in Rishikesh. The money we are collecting is used for ration supplies like rice, flour, dal, tea, sugar, salt as well as blankets, torches, medicine, soap, tents (for the people who lost their home/houses) and gas cylinders. Also fuel and oil for the trucks. List of further requirements:

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Give and get information:

The Google Person Finder for 2013 Uttrakhand floods is available at:
http://google.org/personfinder/2013-uttrakhand-floods/
(Google Person Finder is a web application that allows individuals to post and search for the status of relatives or friends affected by a disaster.)

Helpline numbers by the Uttarakhand state government:
Uttarkashi: 01374-226126-226461
Tehri: 01376-233433
Chamoli: 01372-251437, 01372-1077
Rudraprayag Disaster Management Toll Room: 1077 / 01364-233727

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