The luck of our Yatra

I’m sure we’ll get to regular postings — Tim Miller’s last blog post, for instance, deserved to be highlighted — but here’s one more Yatra-related piece. And it demonstrates how lucky we were.

Necessary background: We came down from Gangotri on Sunday and from Uttarkashi on Tuesday. Which means we barely made it out:

As heavy rains lashed Uttarakhand forcing a halt to the Char Dham yatra and with more rains forecast, the authorities have decided not to allow tourists and pilgrims to Gaurikund, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri. As a precautionary measure, two heavy-duty Mi-17 helicopters will be stationed in Dharchula and Gauchar till July 25.

These were among the decisions which were taken on Thursday at a meeting, chaired by cabinet secretary Ajith Seth, on preparedness for any crisis in the hill state.

Namarupa’s Robert Moses sent that around on Friday. And then I found this:

UTTARKASHI, Uttarakhand: Thirteen Russian nationals were killed on Tuesday as the bus ferrying them to Gangotri fell off the road and plunged into Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi district.

That happened a few weeks before we went through. And that’s not to mention that many of us flew near the route of the Malaysian airline that was shot down the same day we were traveling.

Jai Siva, Jai Ganesha, Jai Narasimha, Jai Hanuman.

But… wow. Scary.

Posted by Steve

Namarupa to aid Ravada Village in flooding aftermath

A little more details on how Namarupa — the publication run by Eddie Stern and Robert Moses — is planning to help those affected by the past weeks’ horrific monsoon flooding in northern India.

As of today, the death toll stands around 800, with several thousand people still unaccounted for and likely stranded still in the mountains. Some Indian officials are guessing the death toll may end up around 10,000.

Here are the questions Namarupa is asking:

It is all very well to send some money and relief supplies after a tragedy on the scale of these floods. But what happens after that? What happens to the inhabitants of a village that has been cleared off the map? What happens to the children How do people pick up and resume their lives?

To answer them, the group has enlisted partners and will focus long-term aid on Ravada Village. More:

A group of small organizations has banded together to help. See below. We will focus our initial attention on RAVADA VILLAGE near the Asi Ganga, a tributary of the Bhagirati (as the Ganga is called here) and about 15 Km from Uttarkashi. Aid will concentrate on three spheres:
1. Initial donations will help reconstruct homes and fields.
2. Long term sustainable agricultural projects and training.
3. Education of the children for future employment.

For more you can and should click this link. It includes how to donate via the Broome St. Temple.

Posted by Steve