Monday, 10 October, 2005
26 Assu (Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: A third of affected New Orleans Sikh families surveyed by UNITED SIKHS have reported property damage worth more than 3.5 million dollars. The total loss suffered by all the 50 Sikh families will be known when the UNITED SIKHS survey is completed by the end of this week. Not all the affected families were covered by insurance for flood damage.
Sikh families in Louisiana have been describing the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to UNITED SIKHS volunteer from the United Kingdom, Meerat Kaur. UNITED SIKHS, with the help of Sumir Kaur, President of New Orleans Gurdwara Sahib, has been compiling a database of Sikh families in Louisiana, and assessing their needs in the post-disaster recovery process. UNITED SIKHS volunteers have also been talking to Sindhi and Hindu families about their losses. The database which will be ready by the end of next week will help ensure that the resettlement needs of the South Asian minority community are met.
The data collected so far show that the aftermath has had varied effects depending on the area of the State in which the Sikh families lived. Those who lived in the worst hit areas of the region have reported destroyed homes and ruined businesses, and many have been left in financial difficulty and an uncertain future.
Forty-year-old Bhupinder Singh, one of the many victims, told UNITED SIKHS of the total destruction to his condominium. The condominium had been Singh's residence for 13 years, and was completely destroyed when 20ft of water entered the residence. Singh had moved to Mississippi when the evacuation warning was issued. Sikh business owners also told of their loss, as the hurricanes indiscriminately wrecked anything in their path. Some will now spend months, if not years, recouping their losses and rebuilding their lives.
The small Sikh community in New Orleans is a minority among minorities and their needs may be easily overlooked. Consequently, Sumir Kaur emphasised the importance of collecting such data so that the needs of the Sikh survivors are satisfactorily met.
Sumir Kaur stated "I thank the UNITED SIKHS for their continued effort and multifaceted help offered to the Sikh community affected by the wrath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans and vicinity. The UNITED SIKHS are in the process of assessing the needs of Katrina and Rita affected Sikh families. I appeal to the international community to support and help the Louisiana Sikh Sangat to pick up the pieces and rebuild and reconstruct their lives. For more information go to www.neworleansgurdwara.org
Tel 1 6463385996 (Toll Free: 1-888-243-1690)
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