Christchurch . . . a city on its knees.The members and volunteers of the Hindu community have join the nation in offering prayers to give strength to the families and friends of earthquake victims.
Hindu Council of New Zealand Media and Public Relations Officer Dr Rajiv Chaturvedi said specialised search and rescue teams were doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances.
“On the other hand, the trauma of the survivors with aftershocks continuing to rock Christchurch, especially those who have to desert their homes, needs an urgent healing touch.
“These natural calamities affect everyone equally. It may be critical for ethnic and linguistic communities who may be disadvantaged in communicating their specific needs to the relief agencies and may need culturally appropriate support.
“In this hour of national emergency, a number of Hindu organisations, temples and associations have come forward to provide relief to earthquake victims,” Dr Chaturvedi said.
The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum, in coordination with Sewa International, have launched an appeal to contribute to the ongoing aid and relief work in Christchurch, and to residents who have been displaced to various New Zealand cities. To assist with Sewa International relief work, contact email@example.com or Kishor Mistry on 09 537 2766. You can make monetary donations to Sewa International through the ASB account number: 12-3055-0216216-00.
* Hindu Niwas, a respite service based in Mangere, Auckland, has opened its 63-bed facility for affected families moving out of Christchurch. Hindu Niwas provides vegetarian meals to residents and will be able to arrange culturally / linguistically appropriate support for victims of the earthquake during their stay. For accommodation details contact: Jairaj Chavan, Manager, Hindu Niwas (Respite Care Services): 09 275 1003.
* Sri Krishna Chaitanya temple of Auckland, with support of Indian Association in Christchurch will serve free, freshly cooked vegetarian meals to the earthquake victims in Christchurch. The team aims to provide around 250 – 500 meals every day for 5 days starting Monday 28th February. Those who wish to donate goods including non-perishable food items and are able to provide transport and manpower for collection, please URGENTLY contact Yogesh Punja on 021 786 520.
* ISKCON Wellington, in co-ordination with devotees in Christchurch, is also distributing food in Christchurch. Jagjeevan Das Prabhu (027 256 7111) can be contacted for more details on this project.
* Hindu Council of New Zealand, Wellington Mutamizh Sangam, and Hindu Youth New Zealand volunteers in Wellington, in co-ordination with New Zealand Police and Pipitea Marae are working to provide support to victims of earthquake seeking refuge in Wellington. Support for linguistic and ethnic groups, including Hindus, Asians, and others is needed. Contacts: Ram Bharadwaj (021 241 7825), Selva Ramasami (021 178 8318), or Rajiv Chaturvedi (021 079 5036).
New Zealand Hindu Temple Society has organised a universal, joint online prayer. This can be joined online from any location on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th March, at exactly 7am. Link to the prayer is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsGJlyFcdQM
“We thank all volunteers who are already involved and look forward to hear from those willing to contribute in whatever way they can,” Dr Chaturvedi said.
“Residents of Christchurch are in our thoughts and prayers.”