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US NRIs collect funds for Mumbai flood victims

PTI | ByLalit K Jha (HindustanTimes.com), Houston
Aug 04, 2005 10:49 PM IST

A large number of people are making donations to India Relief Fund through the internet, reports Lalit K Jha.

The large non-resident Indians (NRIs) community in the United States of America has started raising funds for the people of Mumbai which was badly hit by unprecedented rain last week that devastated the urban infrastructure and played havoc with the city life.

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Both the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal of North America and Maharashtra Foundation has issued appeals to its members and large support base in the U.S. to come forward to help them donate funds for the people of Mumbai who are in distress and need urgent help.

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A large number of people have started making donations through the internet to the India Development Relief Fund (IDRF) soon after it issued a public appeal via the World Wide Web on Tuesday.

With 37 inches of rain in one single day, the devastation has been beyond comprehension, said Vijay Pallod, IDRF vice-president. Heavy rain followed by flood resulted in death of over 1,000 people and affected lakhs in Mumbai and surrounding areas and large number of them have been rendered shelter less.

"There is an urgent need for food packets, fresh water, clothing and medication, as well as temporary shelter for the victims. Donations would be used, in part, to purchase these needed items for immediate distribution," Pallod said.

In Houston, he said IDRF was working in co-ordination with Maharashtra Mandal.

The president of Brihan Maharashtra Mandal of North America, Shri Thanedar said they have already issued an appeal to their members and was in the process of finalizing how best they could help the people of Mumbai.

Though the response from the people is not as spontaneous and overwhelming as was in the case of Tsunami last year, Thanedar said they have started receiving donations from NRIs.

"We feel deeply sorry about state of affairs in Mumbai today. We need to do some thing urgently and help the State Government in relief operations," Thanedar said, adding that their preference would be to hand over the money collected from the U.S. in the hands of some reputed and responsible social organizations.

The Maharashtra Foundation vice president, Sarita Vaishampayan, said besides making an appeal to the NRI community they are organizing a small gathering next week to collect fund for the purpose.

"We are planning to hold a large fund raising event in the next few months so that the organization could raise large amount to sponsor relief and rehabilitation project for the poor people of Mumbai," Vaishampayan said.

Suresh Deopura, from the IDRF west coast, said they have already identified one Jan Jan Kalyaan Samiti which would carry out the relief and rehabilitation work among the poor and need in Mumbai with the fund collected by them.

"Our main emphasis would be on health, sanitation and redevelopment of slums. We would try and reach those areas, where the Government is not able to help so far," he said.

Several other organizations, who initially took things lightly as such heavy rain and flood normally happen in Mumbai during Monsoon every year have begun looking for funds and urging people to come out in support of those hit by this calamity, as the nature of devastation is coming out through the media.

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