In the present times when the world and society is constantly exposed to the natural disasters such as earthquakes, famines, typhoons, hurricanes etc., Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) and its members have come forward and provided emergency relief in India as part of its humanistic movement.
CHENNAI FLOODS – 2015
Tamil Nadu recorded exceptionally heavy rainfall during November – December 2015. The continued rains on 2nd and 3rd December 2015 flooded the densely populated city of Chennai. The flash floods caused extreme damage to the city and brought life to a standstill for the people of Chennai. Roads vanished, electricity shut down, connectivity was lost, food and water were scarce, more than 300,000 people became homeless, and over 500 died. Relief material from Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Salem was dispatched to Chennai, where BSG volunteers hand delivered the material to the affected populace. Groups of BSG youth volunteers cleared debris from streets and houses and distributed dry food packets and medical supplies by boat in 30 of the most devastated localities of Chennai.
INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI – 2004
Triggered by the undersea earthquake activity in the Indian ocean, the high tsunami waves struck the coast of many countries and led to the fatal toll on life and property. BSG members at very short notice collected and contributed Rs 5 lakh to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Meanwhile, the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and BSG jointly took up a three-year programme to support school-going children of the fishing community who had lost one or both parents in the tsunami. The programme takes care of the children’s annual school fees, their uniforms, etc, and also provides extra nutrition in addition to the school’s midday meals. While MSSRF implements the programme, the cost is entirely funded by BSG.
GUJARAT EARTHQUAKE – 2001
An earthquake struck near the town of Bhuj on 26th January 2001 in the state of Gujarat with many losing their lives and incurring damage to livelihoods. In February 200I, BSG’s Women and Youth Peace Committees collected the essential items for the earthquake victims, and more than 20 volunteers distributed them in the 10 devastated villages that had not yet been provided any relief. At least 2,500 ‘family packages’ were distributed among 15,000 villagers.
ODISHA CYCLONE – 1999
A cyclone hit Odisha on 29th October 1999 which flattened thousands of houses, uprooted trees and destroyed the infrastructure. BSG carried out emergency relief operations in support of cyclone victims in the state. Members collected food, clothing and other necessities in New Delhi, Calcutta and Hyderabad and dispatched supplies to victims in eight afflicted villages of Odisha. BSG Volunteers hand-delivered supplies three times to survivors in the villages, sometimes even using small boats where the roads were impassable. BSG also dispatched a medical team to the rural areas with shortage of doctors and medical supplies.
CHAMOLI EARTHQUAKE – 1999
BSG members in New Delhi sent emergency relief supplies to earthquake victims in the Chamoli area of northern India. On 29 March 1999, Chamoli was hit by a large-scale earthquake that claimed 100 lives and left 324 injured and destroyed at least 16,000 homes. The members in New Delhi and other local citizens donated a total of 15 tons of food, clothing and blankets. From April 17 to April 19, BSG’s relief operation team delivered emergency supplies to victims in three villages, beginning with Rudra Prayag.
GUJARAT CYCLONE – 1998
On June 9, 1998, Western India was hit by the worst disastrous cyclone in the history of the area. It struck the port of Kandla at over 100 K.M. per hour completely destroying buildings and houses and killing about 1,500 in just 6 hours. Over 2000 people were reported dead, and more than 5000 missing. Preliminary survey revealed that at least 50,911 houses and 5000 huts were damaged beyond repair in Kandla and Gandhidham.
BSG carried out relief activities to help people affected by the cyclone. BSG members collected relief material in Delhi and Mumbai. The BSG relief team contacted Government officials for identifying villages and after getting authorization, personally delivered relief supplies to over 1421 families across many villages.
The Collector and District Magistrate, Jamnagar Mr. Murmu in his letter to BSG wrote “It was also heartening to know the lengths to which your organisation is going to distribute the sincere donations of the members so that it really reaches people who need it most. — I take this opportunity to congratulate BSG for its humanitarian, value creating and charitable activities, which have been initiated by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda.”