One of the biggest floods in Indian history has inundated the state of Orrisa since 15 September when waters from the Mahanadi river surged into almost 20 districts. An estimated 3 million people are affected in what has been described as an unprecedented flood in the river system. The Indian Navy was called in to help as more than 1000 villages were submerged under water leaving an estimated half a million residents marooned. Communication lines with many villages are inoperable.
Food and relief material were air dropped in the hardest hit districts. Nevertheless, thousands went without food in many parts of Orrisa as the swirling waters made it impossible for the administration to reach the marooned villagers.
Witnessing the grim situation, members of ISKCON got into action and distributed cooked prasadam (spiritually sanctified meals) in various villages of Puri and Kendrapada areas. Since most of the relief provided by government is dry food, the cooked prasadam is greatly appreciated by the victims. ISKCON members have kept the vigil since mid-September.
The coordinator of the program, Pancaratna Dasa (of ISKCON Brahmapur) mentioned, “This was one of the most devastating floods in Indian history. I am grateful to ISKCON Juhu for their support and also to devotees from ISKCON Bhubaneswar who have been distributing hot prasadam meals from their temple kitchen for almost a fortnight. The flood victims and government were not only grateful for our food relief, but were also appreciative of ISKCON’s efforts to help in the hour of need”.
More than 10,000 plates of prasadam are being distributed by ISKCON members daily.