Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Service Activities


Orissa Flood Relief: Housing Project

During third week of September, 2008, depression in the Bay of Bengal led to heavy rains & floods in coastal region of the state of Orissa in India. The embankments along the rivers Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani were breached in many places thereby flooding more than 6,000 villages in 18 districts of the state leaving about 40 lakh (or 4 million) people homeless. The districts of Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack were the worst affected. Relief work was slow and inadequate due to the continuous inclement weather and insufficient infrastructure. Many roads, bridges and railway tracks were either completely washed away or had become unusable. Having robbed thousands of their houses, properties, livestock, and livelihoods, nature's fury left behind a trail of devastation and despondency of unseen magnitude in recent times in the country.

Rivers breached the embankments and
submerged thousands of villages
  Millions of people lost their
homes and livelihood
Damaged roads and railway tracks
delayed relief work
  Sri V.Srinivasan announcing Bhagawan's
resolve to help the flood-affected people

Meanwhile with Bhagawan's blessings, the members of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations in Orissa and its neighbouring states rushed to their brethren in distress with food, clothing, medicines, and other relief materials. But Bhagawan was not content with this. It was on 7th October, the sacred day of Ayudha Pooja during the Dasara festival at Prasanthi Nilayam that everyone came to know of Bhagawan's Sankalpa (resolve). Sri V.Srinivasan, the All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations in his speech stated that Bhagawan was moved by the suffering of thousands of people who had been rendered homeless due to the recent floods in the state of Orissa and that He had decided to construct new concrete houses for them. The entire Sai Kulwant Hall was reverberating with applause for a long time at this spontaneous act of compassion of Divine Mother Sai for Her children in distress. Sri Srinivasan further mentioned that surveys were being conducted and plans were being drawn up at a rapid pace so that the houses would be ready at the earliest and, of course, Bhagawan was looking in to every minute detail to ensure that the people would feel happy and comfortable in their new homes. For instance, in places which are prone to frequent flooding, the houses are being constructed at safe height from the ground level. Also, agriculture being the predominant occupation of the villagers, space is being provided all around the house to shelter cattle and also to store the harvest.

Villagers welcoming members of
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations
  Villagers welcoming members of
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations
Plans and execution schedule on
display at the work site
  Seeing the plan markings
on the ground

A team comprising of representatives of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, Orissa conducted detailed surveys in various places. Beholding the messengers of hope, the flood-affected inhabitants of the villages welcomed them with great respect and expressed joy and gratitude that God had responded to their prayers for succour. Having conducted surveys and finalized the plans, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, with the approval and cooperation of Government of Orissa commenced the Housing project with Bhoomi Pooja (ground breaking ceremony) on 30th November, 2008. As a part of Bhoomi Pooja, Nagarsankeertan (collective singing of Lord's name while going around the village), Narayana Seva (distribution of food, clothes, blankets, etc.) was also conducted. Members of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation of Orissa have been providing able assistance in many ways due to their knowledge of local people and terrain.

Bhoomi Pooja at Khandahota,
Cuttack District
  Bhoomi Pooja at Billipada,
Puri District
Sai Youth doing Nagarsankeertan at
work site in Manibad, Cuttack District
  Food preparations underway
for Narayana Seva
Sri V.Srinivasan being welcomed
for the Bhoomi Pooja
  Sri V.Srinivasan addressing
a meeting at the site
Blankets being distributed   Happy faces all around!

Work is progressing in a planned and phased manner simultaneously in many villages in the districts of Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack. Yet another saga of love is being unfolded? this time in a different setting and to a different section of people, but doubtlessly it is the same Divine Love of Bhagawan reaching out to His children.

Pile boring in progress   Open foundation of a house
Foundation laying in progress   Foundation made of flyash bricks
Foundation made of flyash bricks   Brick walls have already risen up
at Nadiabari site!
Roofing works in progress   Roofing works in progress

Source: http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/Pages/Service_Projects/orissa.htm

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