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Saturday, July 27, 2013

MESSAGE FROM MR. DILIP D. KHATAU, CHAIRMAN, THE CORBETT FOUNDATION

Dear Friends,

In June 2013, the State of Uttarakhand experienced several days of unseasonal and exceptionally heavy rainfall resulting in devastating flash floods and landslides. Many villages located in Uttarkashi, Rishikesh, Joshimath, etc.  were badly affected and we have seen television images of houses,  buildings, temples, religious idols, all swept away due to the sheer force of the river. The poor villagers, who make a living out of the pilgrims and tourists during this season, lost   their only means of making a livelihood and  also sadly,   their homes.

Uttarakhand is home to many pilgrimage sites, such as Badrinath, and Kedarnath, apart from being a popular tourist destination. At least  70,000 tourists and pilgrims, were caught unaware and  were stranded without any access to food, water or dry shelter. The landslides caused massive damage to houses and even medium-rise brick and mortar buildings were not spared.  The official number of casualties is more than 10,000 and many thousands of villagers have been rendered homeless. 

In the past, many scientists and environmentalists had warned the Government about the serious repercussions of developmental activities, especially the Tehri project  undertaken in the ecologically-fragile Himalayas.  Mass deforestation, lack of a suitable buffer between the Himalayan rivers such as the Ganga and  human settlements on its banks, haphazard construction of  new roads, buildings,   dams,  mining and hydro-electric projects across the State, had  exacerbated   this  destruction.  .

Back in September 2010, similar flash floods also wrecked havoc to the entire state of Uttarakhand. Faced with the seriousness of the situation, The Corbett Foundation (TCF) raised donations and its  team based in Dhikuli, sprung into action and immediately initiated the flood relief measures in some of the villages situated along the banks of River Kosi. TCF provided the affected villagers temporary housing, cooking utensils, blankets, medical aid, food and other essential supplies on a priority basis. Our team members crossed rivers on rafts, to reach flood-hit villages. At the risk of endangering their own lives, our doctors and other staff spared no efforts in distributing essential supplies and medical services to the victims.

The current situation is of a much larger magnitude compared to the floods in 2010. We earnestly request you once again to join hands with us and assist us in our mission to render help quickly to these poor villagers, who are trapped between the flood waters and living in these  hostile environment.

Your donations to The Corbett Foundation will enable us to provide much needed and speedy medical treatment, temporary shelters and sustenance to the victims.

Thank you.

DILIP D. KHATAU
CHAIRMAN
THE CORBETT FOUNDATIO

6 comments:

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