On 9th June 1998, a 170 to 200 kmph velocity cyclone struck the coastal regions of Gujarat, near the port of Kandla. Tidal waves as high as 25 feet struck the coastal belt without mercy. When the winds had died down, they left 10,000 people missing, presumed dead, thousands more were left to the mercy of nature. The property damage was estimated at worth more than Rs.25 billion.
The Relief Operation
Inspired by Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj, relief operations were launched immediately in the cyclone affected areas in Gujarat by Bochasanwasi Shree Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, with 20 sadhus and 40 volunteers reaching Kandla within hours of the cyclone, carrying provisions for the helpless survivors.
The team of 60 helpers got busy dispensing Food, Utensils and Medicines in the affected areas. In the first 7 days, the Sanstha helped the local populace with:
2 trucks of millet grains.
10 tons of flour, rice and dal (cereals) distributed in familypacks.
500 sets of primus stoves.
600 sets of steel utensils - dishes, bowls, glasses, 3 pans in each set.
2 trucks of clothes and 200 cartons of specialised clothes and shoes.
300 formulations of medicines worth Rs.250,000/- including paracetamol, tatracycline, chloroquin, and many others.
The work progressed at a speedy pace, and the Sanstha helped to ease the pain for those who lost their possessions and their dear ones. A relief work office and 2 large godowns were secured in Gandhidham, to serve as a base to help the people on an extensive, continuous and long-term basis. Help was extended to Jamnagar, Kandla, Kandla Port, Truna Port, Mundra Port, Shekharvadi, Buni, Jogannar, all Railway Colonies and Cargo Colonies.