Jobs @ MG
Muslims rush relief for quake victims
By S Ubaidur Rahman
|Muslims all around the country have
come out with full assistance for the quake victims in Gujarat. The deadly
quake hit hard the western state of the country on 26 January, the last
Republic Day, and caused the death and destruction on an unbelievably high
magnitude. More than fifty thousand people are reported to have perished
in the quake, the number is just double if one goes by the estimates of
the Defence Minister George Fernandes. A number of victims are still
believed to be trapped in Bhuj the last district on the Indo-Pak border.
Innumerable Muslim organizations, big and small rushed to the quake hit
areas with assistance for the victims of the natural disaster. Muslim
organizations from around the country have reached the affected areas.
They are still busy in the work of rehabilitation and assistance for the
When the stories of discrimination against the minority communities are
increasingly coming to the fore, these organizations are working overtime
to save the people who are unable to come out of the trauma caused by the
death of near and dear ones.
A number of Muslim organizations from Mumbai reached the affected areas
immediately in the aftermath of the disaster. Mumbai houses a large number
of people from these areas. Gujrati community is among the most prosperous
communities of the metropolis. The Muslim community with tags of Patel and
Memon are also from these very areas. Kuchi Memon are all from the most
affected area namely Kutch. These people were among first non-governmental
organizations to reach the affected areas. They worked overtime in areas
where the assistance from around the world was hardly visible. Memon
Welfare and Education Trust is one such organization which worked
selflessly for the victims of the deadly earthquake. They pressed a number
of social workers from Mumbai in rescuing the people who were trapped
under the debris and distributing relief material.
Kutchi Memon Chotani Jamat is also another organization which started
assisting the hapless victims immediately after the earthquake.
It were not the organizations having their roots in the devastated areas
alone who were there to assist the victims. A number of other
organizations too gave their complete attention to the people who were
affected by the fury of nature.
Jamaat-e-Islami was one such organization that put in all its machinery to
help out the people affected by the biggest natural disaster of the
independent India. They put on use all their machinery in the state and
went ahead with their plan to rehabilitate affected people. Jamaat has the
largest organizational base in the state among Muslims. It was not the
state organization that was made to do everything. Jamaat-e-Islami deputed
one of its general secretaries Maulana Abdul Qayyum to organize the relief
work and rehabilitation program. Jamaat alone had spent around ten million
rupees on the rehabilitation work of the affected people till 10 February.
Jamaat has set up a number of centres in areas that were worst hit by the
quake. It set up more than hundred centres in Bhuj and Anjar alone, the
places worst hit by the quake. By 10 February it was assisting around
twenty thousand families through these centres. It had distributed around
0.5 million kg of wheat through these centres. They had distributed around
ten thousand blankets and around one thousand tents also.
Jamaat also provided much needed medical assistance through its medical
camps to the injured. A number of doctors were sent to the affected areas
and they are still camping there.
Rehana Undre, the chairman of Konkan Bank who also runs Royal Educational
Society reached there immediately after the earth quake with her
volunteers and camped there for several days. She provided assistance to a
number of people. She is also organizing neurological camps in Mumbai to
help the traumatized people.
Milli Council, a Delhi-based organization was also one of such
organizations which reached Gujarat immediately after the earthquake. The
council sent a number of doctors and other necessary assistance to help
the victims. Their medical team is still camping there. They have
distributed more than three thousand blankets and tens of tonnes of other
essentials to the victims.
Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) also came out with full support
for the victims. They arranged and coordinated their work well. Not only
that they reached the people who were affected most but they also
coordinated with a number of organizations, and diverted the assistance
that would have rotten if not given to people who needed it most. Their
teams also coordinated closely with several foreign non-governmental
organizations. They provided thirty four truckloads of assistance each
carrying around 10 tons of assistance material. They distributed more than
one thousand blankets, around one thousand tents, thousands of kilograms
of wheat and rice and other essentials. Their medical team treated around
ten thousand patients. On seeing their excellent network, a relief team
from Hong Kong gave them their fully functional makeshift hospital with
Jamiatul Ulama-e-Hind also sent a number of its workers with financial and
other assistance. Maulana Asad Madani and his son along with several
volunteers were camping in the affected areas for several days.
Other people also came with great help. In Ahmadabad, the Gujarat capital
around hundred youths after deadly quake went to the Municipal Corporation
Hospital on 26 January and asked the doctors to take out as much blood
from their bodies as was needed. They did not move from the hospital even
when the doctors told them that they can not extract more blood from their
bodies. These people stayed there for days and gave their blood to every
People in Kashmir were also not far behind when it came to helping other
suffering people. JKLF organized a blood donation camp in Srinagar. The
front activists donated 100 pints of blood through local hospitals for
earthquake victims. Maulana Ahmad Bukhari, imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi,
also sent a large quantity of assistance material and blanket and tents
for the victims. Shia-Sunni Front has also sent a large number of tents,
blankets and other essentials for the victims. q
Excerpts from SIMI's report:
‘When we first arrived two days after the incident, there were people
who didn't have food for two days. Kutch has been a rich region with lot
of natural and earned wealth. It's all buried. In Anjar we happened to
meet a person with flat expressions on his face. We offered him food.
After he had his share he said that he didn't have meals since the
disaster. He pointed out towards rubble and murmured, "There lies my
wife and three children; my hard earned Rs 25 lakhs have been buried. I
was ashamed of begging and no one offered me food." He is a gold
smith and had a jewelry shop in famous Gold bazar of Anjar.
There came another person to us at our camp in Bhuj. Looking graceful, he
couldn't speak. A little while later he started, ‘I am a doctor at the
civil hospital (which totally collapsed on the 26th). I don't ask for
food, but my children lie in the open. I want a tent if you could provide
one.’ All we could do at the time was to hold back our tears, since we
had no tent available at the moment. Our workers themselves were lying in
Due to broken bridges we were turned back to Ahmedabad from Viramgam (100
km from Ahmedabad) We could reach Bhuj only on 29th Jan. We broke up our
team in to three groups. One to distribute food which we had brought. One
to survey the remote areas of Kutch region. And one to guide other relief
agencies to needy people. Since people from outside were unloading their
relief only in Bhuj and Anjar etc., these areas were soon filled with
relief but remote villages could not get their share of relief. Our survey
team brought us the suffering of villagers. We had very little stock so we
turned to others who were dumping their truckloads in city areas or close
to road areas. It worked and soon people realized and handed over their
relief to us. And not only that they also guided others to contact us to
distribute their relief in proper manner. One of the relief workers from
Borsad gave his new Toyota Qualis along with the driver to facilitate our
survey and distribution work. Another person from Surat appreciated our
style of working and donated us a mobile van, which we turned into a
mobile dispensary for medical aid to remote areas. It went further and a
group of twenty doctors along with a truckload of medicine and chartered
bus joined hand with us.
With better planning and for good results we broke up the doctor's group
in to four. One to camp with us and treat local Bhuj people and three
others for villages up to Nakthrana, Khawda, Hajipir, Mundra etc.