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Relief missions from Delhi

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, DEC. 26. Shocked over the tragedy that struck south India today, a large number of organisations based in the Capital have started collecting relief material for the victims.

Taking the lead was Caritas India, the social wing of the Catholics Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), and the Sewa Bharati, the social service wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). With a vast cadre and support base at their disposal, officials of the two organisations were quick to draw up an action plan by getting in touch with their branches in the affected States and receiving a feedback about their immediate requirements.

The CBCI spokesperson Father Babu Joseph, said: "After an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation, we have directed our local units to mobilise people and material to rush to the affected areas." The assistant director of Caritas India, who is already in Chennai for some work, has been asked to stay there and co-ordinate the relief operations. "Shelter, food, clothes and medicine are immediately required in these places," Father Joseph added.

Rakesh of Sewa Bharati said the organisation was ready for the mission and preparing to send relief material to the affected areas. "We are waiting for details from branches in these States," he said. Having established contacts with his workers, Mr. Rakesh said: "We have asked them to inform us what they require and where to send the material."

The Deputy Mayor of Delhi, Ramesh Dutta, who is ready to carry out relief operations along with his Nehru Brigade, said a 21-member team under him would leave for Chennai on Monday. The team would comprise about five doctors.

Having collected relief material at a very short notice with the help of his supporters in Minto Road, he said the Nehru Brigade was taking along with it blankets and clothes. "Life saving drugs, first aid kits and emergency medicines have been provided by the MCD," he said.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Ram Babu Sharma, appealed to his party workers and residents of the Capital to donate relief material so that it could be despatched to the affected areas. "We are in constant touch with the Congress leaders and would be dispatching the first batch of relief material soon," he said.

As details of the enormity of the calamity poured in from various parts of South India, small non-governmental organisations tried to get in touch with their contacts in coastal areas and identify the villages and towns where they could send their team with relief material. Many of them also sought financial help from their overseas donors to help the families in distress.

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