By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 17: Five Dharamshala based Tibetan NGO’s have initiated a ‘Donation towards Relief Work for Chennai Flood Victims’ drive here in Mcloed Ganj for two days commencing today to gather monetary support in aid of the victims of the Chennai city floods.
The Tibetan Women Association, Student for a Free Tibet, Gu Chu Sum Tibetan Political Movement and Former-Tibetan Students association, Madras and International Tibet Network come together for two days to collect contributions from the people including residents and tourists of McLoed Ganj. The proceeds of the drive will later be distributed for relief activities to help affected people in Chennai with the assistance of Tibetan Students Association of Chennai.
Speaking to Phayul, ITN coordinator Nyima Lhamo said, “We will be providing relief aid with whatever we get from the two days with the help of Tibetan students studying in Chennai.”
The 2015 South Indian Floods affected the Coromandel Coast region states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Union territory of Puducherry among which the city of Chennai was the hardest hit spots in the winter monsoon’s incessant rain hit areas. The heaviest rainfall recorded in over a hundred years have put death toll around 500 people and 18 lakh people displaced or affected severely.
MP Dhadon Sharling who is alumni of Madras Christian College describes the drive “to assist with relief works underway to bring the state back to normalcy”. She said, “As someone who studied in Chennai for five years, I strongly believe that having spent the best years of my life in Chennai, I owe it to the city that now stands paralyzed by the recent tragic floods. Chennai has educated and nurtured hundreds of Tibetans over the last two decades. Also this fundraising drive is a genuine gesture to express our solidarity and gratitude to India that has been Tibetans' second home for the past five decades.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the beginning of the month sent a donation of 15 lakh INR for relief operation to the Tamil Nadu state government. “Chennai was one of the Indian cities I visited when I first came to India in 1956 for the Buddha Jayanthi celebrations. Over the years I have visited this beautiful city several times, most recently three weeks ago as these rains began.” He wrote in a letter to state CM J Jayalalitha.
The imminent danger of the natural calamity has since been lowered with the receding of water levels, yet for the families who suffered casualties and many of those who are left homeless, the rebuilding efforts are slowly beginning. Relief work and help form people around the world have now become crucial in terms of both material aid and recovery from trauma within.