By Shweta Sharma and Rupesh Dutta,
New Delhi : Parallel to the Indian government’s massive relief efforts, several religious and spiritual groups in the country are extending a helping hand to earthquake victims in Nepal.
The groups, as diverse as the Arya Samaj, the Art of Living and the Haridwar-based Gayatri Pariwar, are sending doctors, medicines as well as volunteers to the Himalayan nation.
Moved by pictures and published accounts of the devastation caused by Saturday’s 7.9 magnitude temblor that has killed more than 5,000 people in Nepal, the groups are engaged in fund raising and more.
“We have decided to adopt at least five villages in Nepal. One of our teams has reached Kathmandu to distribute essentials like solar cookers, lamps and packed food,” Sushil Tripathi, a senior member of Arya Samaj Mandir in central Delhi, told IANS.
Assuring “all possible help” to the people of Nepal, yoga guru Ramdev has announced blood donation camps in several parts of Nepal.
Ramdev has also decided to adopt 500 children orphaned by the disaster, one of the worst to hit Nepal, his spokesperson S.K. Tijarawala told IANS.
The yoga guru, who counts millions of followers in India and abroad, has promised to keep supplying primary medical care, food, water and essential items.
Ramdev was incidentally in Nepal to conduct a five-day yoga session by that country’s chapter of his organisation Patanjali when the deadly quake rattled the country.
“This is one of the worst devastations I have seen in my life,” C.M. Pippal, president of the Buddhist Society of India, told IANS.
“Though a lot of people from around the world are helping the Nepalese, they need our well wishes to overcome the disaster.
“It is clear that it will take years for the victims to restore normalcy in their lives. But if they keep getting help from neighbouring countries, they will soon surmount the problem,” Pippal added.
The organisations are also sending doctors and paramedics to Nepal.
Vinod Bansal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) told IANS that in association with Hindu Helpline and India Helpline, “health ambassadors” have been appointed to provide aid in Nepal.
One team of doctors has already reached Nepal, he said.
The Haridwar-based Gayatri Pariwar said it sent medicines worth Rs.5 lakh by trucks immediately after the disaster. More would follow.
“We have sent two different teams to distribute medicines in various areas of Nepal. Surgeons, physicians and orthopaedics from Ahmedabad and Mumbai are treating the needy,” its manager Gaurishankar Sharma said.
He said 20 vans with household materials had also entered Nepal. “A total of 150 volunteers have also gone to Nepal.”
The Ramakrishna Mission, which is always in the forefront during natural calamities, has set up community kitchens and night shelters across Nepal.
“Food items such as flattened rice (poha), biscuits, chocolates and water bottles have been distributed,” a senior member told IANS.
Activists of Art of Living-Nepal are on blood donation drives at the Bir Hospital in Kathmandu.
“The Art of Living centre in Kathmandu has been converted into a shelter camp,” a spokesman said. He said the group was also providing food and other relief material.
The group in charge of Delhi’s Nigambodh Ghat crematorium is ready to organise free funerals, if contacted.
“We are ready to cremate those who died without any charges. We have all facilities in place,” Avadesh Sharma, in-charge of the Ghat, told IANS.