Cyclone in Kutchh 1998
Gujarat, India was hit by a devastating cyclone on 9th June 1998. The worst hit areas were north of Jamnagar and Kandla, Gujarat’s main port. Thousands of lives were lost and a huge area was devastated with damage to land and buildings. Thousands of families lost their beloved ones and many also lost their homes and possessions. Usually, in disasters of this kind, the people who suffer the most are the poorest and the unfortunate ones.
Map of Gujarat
BET’s role in cyclone
As soon as the disaster occurred on 9th June and after news breaking out that this cyclone had caused widespread damage, Bhagvatinandji Education Trust (BET) which is based in India, went to survey the area. After surveying the damage, it decided that it would help by rehousing people who had lost their homes totally, help to repair roofs and walls of houses that were damaged, supply tarpaulin for immediate and temporary use as a shelter, distribute clothes and run a kitchen.
BEHT’s role in cyclone
BET requested financial assistance to carry out its task. Bhagvatinandji Education and Health Trust (BEHT), which has recently been registered as a charity in UK, accepted this request for help and appealed to its wellwishers for donations. A total of £ 5870.00 (approx. 400,000 Rupees) was collected in a short time and sent to BET in India.
How were the funds used
One of the most immediate needs identified was to provide roof sheets to repair houses.The funds from BEHT were used by BET to purchase 1231 roof sheets which helped to repair 171 houses at a total cost of Rupees 400,085. Based at Adhipur, near Kandla, BET first helped those families that had lost everything in the disaster, the elderly and the sick / injured. Families of all caste, creed and religion were helped. The young, healthy and fit were requested to help as volunteers.
Copy of invoice to purchase roof sheets
These sheets were distributed to the needy as per following
|Number of roof sheets||Number of houses||Total number of sheets distributed|
|2 sheets||7 houses||14 sheets|
|TOTAL||171 houses||1231 sheets|
These are copies of how the records were kept for distribution of roof sheets to each household
Other Work by BET
Apart from distributing roof sheets from the funds donated by BEHT, with donations from local contacts, BET also distributed clothes, tarpaulins for immediate use and roof tiles for houses. Also, along with supplying roof tiles and roof sheets, BET provided wooden cross beams for support and the necessary hardware such as nails, hammer etc. BET also helped to relocate a whole community onto a new piece of land approved by the Government. On this land, it helped to dig a well for water, supplied stones, bricks and cement to build walls for houses and also roofing material. The main people from this community were brought together and with their collaboration this land was developed on the understanding that they had to be self reliant in the future once BET finished its work.
As in any organisation, without the support of volunteers, all the work mentioned above would not have been possible. About 50 volunteers helped selflessly over a 3 month period.