About the Disaster: Tragedy in the Himalayas
In the tragic flooding in Uttarakhand mid-June, innumerable people (estimates report in the thousands) lost their lives. They couldn’t escape as Mother Ganga’s waters rose to heights unseen in over 100 years, flowing brown and fast: with forces greater than a speeding train.
The official death toll from the Uttarakhand flood has surpassed 1,000, but most believe it will be probably several times that by the time the waters recede and the mud and sludge is removed from the roads and hillsides. Tragically, every day, more and more bodies are being found along the river’s banks, in rubble, or smothered by avalanches.
When Mother Ganga’s waters rose, the roads, homes, towns and villages lining Her banks were no match. One after the other, buildings collapsed into rubble or into the rushing waters. Others were soon completely underwater or crushed by landslides.
Nearly 100 dharmshalas (guest houses), packed full of pilgrims fell into the river. Hundreds of cars toppled off foundation-less roads. Roads were destroyed. Bridges collapsed. Countless lives were lost, as were property, possessions and hopes.
It was the month of June, the summer vacation season of India when millions of devotees flock from their homes to the sacred Char Dham Yatra pilgrimage of the Uttarakhand Himalayas to offer their prayers in the four holy temples. After the disaster, many of these pilgrims were stranded in the high Himalayas. An estimated 11,000 are missing and likely dead.
In so many tragic cases, large families traveled together on this holy journey. Only one or two may have survived, having watched their loved ones being brutally taken by rushing waters, mud and rocks.
Led by Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh and Founder of Ganga Action Parivar, our Project Hope team has been working continuously since the first day after the tragic Uttarakhand floods of June 2013, when the rivers rose higher than they had in over 100 years. The sight of families searching desperately for their loved ones, the knowledge that so many thousands are living without bare necessities, the memory of the thousands who have perished – these propel us to continue and expand our seva day by day.
Pujya Swamiji has inspired individuals, organizations, NGOS, administration, volunteers and doctors to come together as one team with one theme—serving to first rescue and relieve the stranded pilgrims and now to provide both emergency/immediate assistance and also permanent eco-friendly rehabilitation and reconstruction for the surviving villagers.
What We’re Doing
Be the Hope.
We invite you to join us in our crucial mission of restoring lives. Please email email@example.com.