Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s schools and hospital have been responding to the immediate needs in their regions for flood relief since the harsh rains began nine days ago.
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (Amrita Hospital) is continuing to provide as much care as possible, despite the fact the ground floor has been flooded. They have also had to restrict water and diesel usage.
The hospital is in the Ernakulam area, one of the worst hit in the state flooding. However as a super specialty hospital with 1,300 beds, staff are finding ways to keep it open. Many of the smaller hospitals have been forced to close because of inundation of water.
“We are consolidating all medical and surgical patients on the common floor, also trying to discharge patients to the hospital guest house as much as possible,” said Dr. Sanjeev Singh, Amrita Hospital’s Medical Superintendent.
“We have called for help from all volunteers and are making arrangements for food and accommodation of staff who have been asked to stay back 24×7 at the hospital. All the surgeries are cancelled and out-patient visits are cancelled.”
As well, many of Amrita Hospital’s staff have been unable to get to the hospital because they can’t travel from their homes due to flooding.
Yesterday in Amritapuri during a gathering of all residents and visitors, Amma asked if there was anyone who would like to head to the hospital to aid in moving equipment to the first floor. The teams also were required to work around hospital grounds to alleviate water flow.
Immediately, dozens of people got up to make the trip–60 Westerners, 60 female monastics and 60 male monastics. The hospital is usually about a three hour drive from Amritapuri, but due to the flooding it took much longer. Buses were quickly filled and people arrived at Amrita Hospital into the wee hours of the night so they could take part in the aid work.
The teams moved highly expensive machines such as laser surgery units upstairs to prevent their destruction, possibly saving the hospital millions of dollars in damages. They worked to avoid allowing the overall electrical system to get wet and created a dam with sandbags in different areas of the hospital grounds to stop water levels from rising further. They also moved food and kitchen supplies to safety. Water levels were about 10 to 25 centimeters.
Meanwhile, of the 40 Amrita Vidyalayam schools in the state, about 30 have become relief camps. They are providing shelter, food, clothing, toiletries and medical care.
The Mata Amritanandamayi Math has sent teams to coordinate the efforts and countless volunteers are taking up the tasks. In areas where there is no Amrita Vidyalayam school nearby, volunteers are joining other organizations running relief camps.