Atlanta, Sep 11: The “Monster” Hurricane Irma measuring 400 miles wide after wreaking a trail of death and destruction through the Caribbean, moved inwards into Florida prompting mandatory evacuation of over 6.8 Million people.
Sewa International’s chapters in Tampa and Atlanta swung into action as a precaution. “Sewa International’s recent experience in rescue and relief in Hurricane Harvey where we rescued 687 people working, has been key in fine tuning the plans to deal with Irma,” said Swadesh Katoch, Sewa Director of Disaster Relief, who just returned from Houston where Sewa International has mobilized 800 volunteers. “Sewa is the first Indian American organization that is working at this scale. We are leveraging our vast international experience in rescue, relief and rehab operations during the 2015 Nepal Earthquake and the 2017 Chennai, India floods,” he continued.
Vishwanath Koppaka, Sewa’s Coordinator of Hurricane Irma relief in Atlanta, explained “Sewa is leading a coalition of twenty temples, professional, linguistic and religious Indian-American organizations in the Greater Atlanta region. Generous Atlanta host families are providing shelter at their homes for those who prefer homestays.”
A 24/7 Helpline 775-ATL-SEWA (775-285-7392) has been set up for any one evacuating from Florida and looking for shelter. Social media facilitated to propagate the help that the partners are offering. An online form for those seeking shelter is available at www.sewausa.org.
Together Sewa and partner organizations have provided shelter to over 2,000 families. A number of Indian and Hispanic families have taken advantage of the service. Sewa team is coordinating with the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Shakti Mandir, Sai Pariwar, Sanatan Mandir, the Hanuman Temple, and the Art of Living in meeting the needs of the migrating families and ensuring their comfort. Freshly prepared hot food is being served. Local area Physicians are offering free medical consultation to the displaced families.
Prof. Sree N. Sreenath, President of Sewa International visiting from Cleveland, OH made a visit to the Hindu Temple of Atlanta and spoke to some of the displaced families personally. “We commend the enlightened Board and the Executive Committee of the Hindu Temple of Atlanta who not only threw open the facilities, but are providing fresh cooked healthy meals to the families. The folks are scared about what will happen to their homes, but are grateful to the larger Indian community that has stepped up to receive them as guests.”
Many of those at the shelters are IT professionals from India working for major organizations on temporary assignments who said that they are on their own, and did not receive any guidance or direction from their employers. They appreciated the Atlanta Indian-American Community’s largesse.
Sewa team is actively monitoring the storm’s progress as it passes through Atlanta. Sewa is also working with FEMA, SBA and other governmental organizations in the relief efforts to help those affected.
Sewa International is a Hindu faith-based 501 (c)(3) humanitarian nonprofit that serves humanity in distress, aids local communities, and promotes volunteerism, through its 41 Chapters across the USA. Sewa serves irrespective of race, color, gender, sex, religion or nationality. Donations to Sewa International are tax-deductible.
People seeking help should call the Sewa Atlanta Helpline: 775-ATL-SEWA (775-285-7392).