Following the catastrophic flooding and landslides in Jammu and Kashmir this past September, Mata Amritanandamayi Math pledged a US $4 million relief package, held medical relief camps in the worst affected regions, and distributed essential medicines, supplements, and winter supplies to the survivors.
We immediately dispatched two state of the art telemedicine units and a team of doctors and staff to hold medical relief camps in the worst affected, impoverished, and remote districts of Kashmir, ultimately reaching over 6000 people. Many of these villages had not received any aid at all since they are so geographically remote and difficult to access.
In addition to state of the art diagnostic tests and treatments, we also distributed high quality medicines and nutritional supplements to improve the health of those affected, especially children. Doctors from AIMS, our super specialty hospital in Kochi, provided emotional and psychological support in addition to medical care.
Everyone on the relief team went above and beyond to do everything they could for the disaster victims. Some doctors multitasked as veterinarians, as livestock are important to the livelihoods of villagers, especially as agriculture has been particularly hard hit. A dentist, veterinarian, nurse, doctor, and an EMT all pitched in to staff the busy pharmacy department. Even after one medical camp closed for the day, doctors continued to write prescriptions from the bus until every patient had been seen.
In November 2014, Mata Amritanandamayi Math volunteers distributed over 3000 blankets to supply families with the necessities for the freezing winter weather. We worked with District Magistrate Shah Faesal, who directed us to remote villages where people had not yet received aid, and local village mayors who created lists of recipients to ensure a fair, orderly, and efficient distribution. The blankets made all the difference to families who lost everything in the floods, and were living in temporary shelters the whole winter.
We are currently planning the next phase of long-term relief and rehabilitation efforts in the region.