Monday, 30 August 2010

Update from Leh - Insaniyat Team

We returned from Leh with a bag of mixed feelings. It was heart breaking to see the devastation. It was heart wrenching to see people who had lost everything, who would urge us to offer the relief supplies to someone needier. There was no jostling, pushing or grabbing. They stood with a quiet dignity accepting gratefully what was handed out.

People who had lost family members silently mourned their loss. We discovered they had a great sense of community living, sharing equally what little they had.. It was also heart warming to see the hope of strength with which they were ready to pick up the pieces. Corruption and Crime, we learned, was one of the lowest in the country. We infact received more than we gave. It was very rewarding and satisfying. We returned truly humbled.

Now for some mundane facts and data. We had put together 500 “family packs” which made distribution easier. Each pack contained a sleeping bag, a 12’x12’ tarpaulin, a blanket, a kerosene stove, a bucket with mug , a jerry can , a 13 piece set of steel utensils, a toilet kit and a torch. In addition we too 200 non-electric steel water purifiers, 200 blankets, and 20 high altitude (12’x12’) tents. All these were personally distributed by the INSANIYAT team.

Everyone knows that the Army has a huge presence in LEH. But what everyone doesn’t know is how the Army took charge instantly, starting rescue, clearing and cleaning operations. Simultaneously they provided medical and relief in housing, feeding and clothing the disaster stricken. All this while the local authorities were still in shock and inertia.

Regretfully the press has been rather irresponsible in reporting matters leading articles with big pictures of politicians visiting Leh made front page news. Lots of promises were made and a relief package announced.

Somewhere on page4 a small article mentioned the visit of the Army Chief of staff. No mention of the commendable work the Army was doing. Let us stand and salute the Army.

Unlike other disaster stricken areas, where relief and rehab can go on for many months, Leh has less than a 2 month window left. After this temperatures will drop precariously and any action will be impossible. Their greatest need right now is to build homes before the onset of Winter. After providing them with some basic provisions, we plan to finance some prefabricated housing .

We would like to thank all our friends for their generous contributions . Individual receipts will be sent.

Thanking you
Insaniyat Team

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