The extent of the destruction wrought in the past two days by 16 inches of torrential rains in Gadhada and the surrounding villages is becoming more apparent as flood waters recede and relief workers begin to reach flood victims. As the sadhus and volunteers of Gadhada’s BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir extended their relief efforts to the villages surrounding Gadhada, they were met with heartrending scenes of devastation.
Today, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir sadhus and volunteers engaged in relief efforts in the town of Gadhada as well as in Ghoghasamadi, Lakhanka, Sajanavadar, Chiroda, Vallabhipur, Gundala, Gadhadi, Ishvaria, Melana and other flood-affected villages surrounding Gadhada. In Gadhadi, more then 60 houses have been destroyed. In Sajanavadar, 210 of the village’s 245 houses have been flattened by flood waters. In these villages, thousands of men, women, and children escaped the flood waters with just the clothes on their backs. Many were trapped without food or water on terraces for over 35 hours by 10 ft of raging floods. Today, entire villages were trying to salvage whatever belongings they could unearth from underneath their collapsed homes. In the village of Sajanavadar alone more than 300,000kg of harvested grains have been destroyed by the flood waters. In both of these villages as well as in Melana, there has been large-scale destruction of property and livestock.
At Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s command, 40 sadhus and more than 100 volunteers of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Mandir in Gadhada have been engaged in round-the-clock relief efforts for the past two days. Sadhus and volunteers have been traveling to these villages with emergency relief supplies and aid. The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir’s sadhus have provided more 35,000 hot meals to more than 8,600 people in and around Gadhada in the last two days. In addition to hot tea, snacks and hot meals, 3,115 Kg of raw food supplies including sugar, cooking oil, ghee, jaggary, flour, besan, tea, milk powder, potatoes, dal, rice, etc. has been distributed to flood victims. Moreover, 12 tons of fodder has been distributed for flood-affected livestock. Additionally, 1000 kits of one week’s worth of food supplies (including, 10kg wheat flour, 1kg sugar, 1 kg cooking oil, 200g tea, 200g chili powder, 100g turmeric, 100g cumin powder, 100g mustard seeds, and 500g salt) have been distributed to flood-affected villages.
Moreover, on Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s instructions, the dharmashala and accommodations at Gadhada’s BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir has been opened for all flood-affected individuals. The Kothari of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Gadhada, Adhyatmaswarup Swami and sadhus have been visiting flood-affected areas in Gadhada and the surrounding villages to offer relief aid as well as much needed comfort and spiritual strength to flood victims in this time of calamity.