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From the Field
Relief Workers' Report

UNITED SIKHS, an international non-profit human development NGO, is currently working to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. Current UNITED SIKHS projects include relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nicobar Islands, South India, and Aceh, Indonesia.

So much to do & say, so little time

Campbell Bay, South India: The past two days have been really great. The support on many levels for our project has been helpful. Team GHANAIA gave a presentation to the local sangat in Chennai on Saturday. It was an emotional exchange that brought the group to tears. They have rallied around the cause and provided us with two truckloads of materials that were sent out this afternoon on the ship, Swaraj. Using a mix of charm and authority, Navneet Singh negotiated his way through 4 lines of port authority to secure a last minute space for our shipment of goods.

We will meet the shipment in 3 days time in Campbell Bay. We fly by plane at 6 AM tomorrow to Port Blair where we will then take a four ride on Indian Air Force helicopters to Campbell Bay.

Also earlier today we arranged for the purchase of a used tractor and trailer from the Indian Army. We will either ship one to the island or pick up one in Port Blair from their base. This will serve as our workhorse to haul debris and for travel into places where roads have been washed out.

We spoke to Darshan Kaur a resident of Campbell Bay in depth today about her experience as the waves came. She spoke of running from a 60-foot wave. It is like running from a six-story building. She ran 3 kilometres onto a hill that was higher than the tsunami. She stayed there for 2 days not able to leave because rain pounded the island as the waves subsided. Two days after that she walked 10 more kilometres to a refugee camp where she stayed for another week. Her husband was missing for 10 days and fearing he was dead she went to Delhi where family took her in. It turns out her husband survived and UNITED SIKHS has arranged for her return home and their reunion. We will escort her there tomorrow.

There is much more to write but its 11 p.m., we leave in 5 hours and the internet café just closed.

Photograph. The three UNITED SIKHS volunteers from U.S. (Satbir Singh, Hargobind Singh, and Hargobind Singh) co-sponsored by the Shield Foundation reach Chennai and meet up with the S. India Team Lead Navneet Singh. The team will leave for Campbell Bay Feb 1st to join the other team members to extend the the relief operation to next phase.

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