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Medical Aid During Natural Disasters

During times of natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, cyclones and droughts, the BAPS rushes help to the victims. Providing immediate relief, the Sanstha also provides a variety of medical aid.

Floods of Malda, West Bengal, India, 1995
When the monsoon rains arrived in West Bengal in 1995, they arrived with a difference. 690 mm of rain fell over the District of Malda, West Bengal, which resulted in mass flooding. Rs.600 million worth of crops were destroyed. 54 lives were lost because of the floods and 47,850 houses were completely washed away or partially damaged.

Disaster relief is one of the prime activities of the organization. When the floods hit the District of Malda during the monsoon months of 1995, the Kolkata center swung into action and started its relief work. Taking truck loads of clothes, utensils and medicines, BAPS sadhus and volunteers personally rushed to the worst affected area of Malda to help. The medicines were given to the medical camps set up by the government.

Cyclone of Andhra Pradesh, India, 1996
On 11 November 1996, some 600 kilometers into the Indian Ocean, a cyclone took birth that eventually bulldozed a 300 kilometer land area at speeds of up to 260 km/h. East and West Godavari were the worst hit. Damage was estimated at Rs.20.26 billion. It left 1,000 people dead, 925 missing, and 580,000 homes destroyed.

As well as food and clothes, the Sanstha also sent a team of qualified doctors to help the sick and injured. Medicines were also distributed to medical units working in the area.

Gujarat Earthquake, Kutch, India, 2001
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that has shocked Gujarat, the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), through the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, performed a massive relief operation.
The BAPS had over 100 sadhus and 1000 volunteers helping the victims in the worst affected areas. The BAPS provided clothing, shelter, medical aid and had set up kitchens to feed victims and relief teams.
In addition to the medical camps set up immediately after the tragedy, BAPS is still continuing with the services of its 2 Mobile Medical Vans, which have served more than 45,000 patients till date.

Epidemic, Surat, Gujarat, India, 1994
From August 26, 1994, outbreaks of bubonic and pneumonic plague were reported in south-central, south-western, and northern India. Because most of the reports were unconfirmed, the extent of the outbreaks was unclear. However, a total of 693 suspected bubonic or pneumonic plague cases with positive test results for antibodies to Yersinia pestis were reported by India to the World Health Organization (WHO). Cases were reported from five states, Maharashtra (488 cases), Gujarat (77 cases), Karnataka (46 cases), Uttar Pradesh (10 cases), and Madhya Pradesh (4 cases) and from the federal district of New Delhi (68 cases). Some 156 fatal plague cases were reported nationwide.

On 22 September 1994, cases of pneumonic plague were found in the city of Surat, Gujarat. By September 26, several hundred pneumonic plague cases and numerous deaths were noted.

The Sanstha has an active center in Surat. As soon as the outbreak of the plague was reported, Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj ordered medicines to be sent immediately to the city.

  • More than 100,000 Tetracycline tablets and mouth-guides were distributed free.
  • Moreover, the volunteers of the Sanstha served food and tea to more than 3,000 pneumonic plague patients in the Civil Hospital of Surat for more than a month on request of the Collector of Surat.

Maharashtra Earthquake Disaster, India, 1993
It took only a few seconds for the world of many Indians to come crumbling down. The earthquake that struck Latur and Osmanabad in the State of Maharashtra on 30 September 1993 had a terrifying force of 6.4 on the Richter scale – powerful enough to put more than 30,000 people to sleep forever. It was India’s worst earthquake since independence in 1947.

Official statistics show that about 86 villages of the two districts – Latur and Osmanabad, were hardest hit by the earthquake.

In 24 hours, a team of 25 sadhus, doctors and volunteers of the organization reached the village of Samudraal with 2,000 Kg. of food and medicine. The volunteer force peaked to more than 250 during the relief work. About 160,000 Kg. of food, clothes along with medical aid was distributed in 15 villages. The injured and sick were looked after by the devoted doctors of the organization. Another team of volunteer doctors of the Sanstha traveled from village to village helping the injured and moving the seriously injured to makeshift hospitals set up by the government. A ‘Pitru-tarpan’ ceremony, where ablutions to souls of the deceased, was also held.

The Sanstha provided medical relief to 15 villages in the disaster area, namely:

1. Samudraal
2. Kondjigadh
3. Kaddora
4. Kaddeo Nimbal
5. Kal Nimbala
6. Udatpur
7. Murshidpur
8. Balsur
9. Vilaspur (Pandhari)
10. Vadi
11. Mulgaon
12. Holi
3. Peth Sangali
14. Rajegao
15. Rajegaon Sinhcoli

Morbi Flood Disaster, Gujarat, India, 1979
It has been written down in history as ‘the worst flood disaster of the century in India.’ The floods that hit Gujarat in August 1979 left thousands of people and cattle dead. Thousands more were made homeless. Crops were destroyed and washed away.

Volunteer doctors of the Sanstha were rushed to help the injured and sick. In total 1,650 people benefited from the medical help. Thousands more were given prevention vaccines against Cholera and Tetanus by our doctors.

  • After the cyclone at Kandala in 2000 our team of 50 doctors served at Pramukh Swami Hospital at Gandhidham and medicines worth Rs. 500,000 was donated to Govt. of Gujarat by BAPS.
  • During post earthquake at Kachchh, Bhuj, Pramukh Swami Hospital, Bhuj has treated 40,154 patients and the two mobile dispensaries have treated 27,394 patients in 48 villages. This work is still continuing with dedication.

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith