By Munich, Germany Relief Team (Originally in German)
Toward the end of May and beginning of June 2016, devastating rainstorms hit southern parts of Germany, and many villages succumbed to terrible floods. In some places, the water rose so fast that several people lost their lives in the tsunami-like flooding, which carried large amounts of rubble and debris. Many houses are now in danger of collapsing and have to be demolished, leaving many of the affected people with all their possessions lost, including their homes.
In order to provide immediate relief to the affected people as instructed by Supreme Master Ching Hai, our German Association members contributed EUR 43,973.50 and organized a relief effort.
Schwäbisch Gmünd, Steinkirchen und Braunsbach – June 5, 2016
On June 5, 2016, a group of Association members from the Munich Center made the 2.5-hour journey to Schwäbisch Gmünd, a town that had fallen victim to the floods exactly seven days before, when many homes and shops were flooded and livelihoods lost or destroyed within minutes. One member of the volunteer fire brigade of Schwäbisch Gmünd tried to rescue one of the villagers; however, the drainage system was overwhelmed by the huge amounts of water, which pushed up manhole covers and claimed both of their lives.
While conveying Master’s loving concern to the victims, we distributed vegan food parcels and monetary contributions to two single mothers, and also provided vegan food parcels to many others who were severely affected. One of the recipients, moved to tears as our youngest 8-year-old team member gave him our gifts, said he had been on the spiritual path for many years now and was delighted to receive information about our Master.
Then we presented Mr. Schamberger, the fire station master, and two of his fellow firefighters with a gift basket and financial aid for the family of the firefighter who lost his life. People were very touched that someone cared for them in their time of need, and wanted to know more about Supreme Master Ching Hai. The fire station master, a respectable man who had seen many troubles, was deeply moved. He later wrote a letter to Master, thanking Her for the “spontaneous great help and wonderful support” on behalf of all the firefighters. A local press spokesman was also present. In Schwäbisch Gmünd, we distributed a total of EUR 14,000 in financial assistance to alleviate the immediate needs of the victims before government aid arrives.
After a very emotional farewell in Schwäbisch Gmünd, where we were hugged again and again, we went on to Steinkirchen, near Braunsbach, to present a particularly hard-hit family with a vegan food parcel and a donation of EUR 2,000 to help them get over the initial difficult period. The son of the family accepted the gifts with gratitude.
On our way through the town, we distributed more vegan food parcels and money envelopes to the people we met who were busy clearing out their houses and removing mud and rubble. We noticed that most people remained very optimistic despite their desperate situation. Everywhere we saw many friendly helpers who did what they could to support the flood victims.
We delivered the rest of our vegan food parcels to a local business. Although the owner was hit hard by the flood, he converted his place into a center that provides food and free meals for the volunteers and the victims. As we distributed the remaining EUR 4,000 to the affected people, we received many more spontaneous hugs! Everywhere we went, we met very motivated people who were working together with friends, relatives and complete strangers and trying to rectify the damage as quickly as possible.
Simbach am Inn – June 18, 2016
On June 18, a group of our Munich Association members traveled to Simbach am Inn, a small town on the River Inn near the Austrian border, which had incurred serious damage. We gave some comfort to this community by distributing vegan food parcels as well as envelopes with money.
Due to the severity of the floods, we had to wait two weeks before the community was accessible. When we arrived in this small town of around 10,000 inhabitants, we were disheartened to see that the entire center of the town resembled a huge hole of mud. Many roads were blocked by heaps of flood debris, tree trunks and damaged furniture. At least 500 homes will have to be demolished, due to extensive damage.
We visited the worst-hit families based on a list given by the local fire station and the information collected from the internet. One young family man posted his neighbors’ plight on Facebook, and went all out to help them, despite being very badly affected himself. An elderly couple gave us a firsthand account of how the entire area was flooded within seven minutes! They also told us that a man dove back into their flooded home to rescue their pet cat, which had been locked inside. Next we met up with four badly affected firefighters’ families and presented them with vegan food parcels and financial assistance between EUR 2,000 and 3,000 each.
We spent the rest of the day visiting more families, handing out vegan food parcels and a total of EUR 22,500 in monetary contributions as initial emergency aid. Some people were living in emergency accommodations in nearby Austria, some were staying with their relatives, while others still had to live in their severely damaged homes. The big problem for many families is that they were not insured against this kind of damage, and have therefore literally lost houses and homes.
Despite the devastating situation, most of the affected people seemed to put their trust in God. They rolled up their sleeves and helped the many volunteers mobilized via Facebook. A group of four women went with wheelbarrows full of homemade cakes, fruit and drinks from door-to-door to offer the beleaguered owners some refreshments. Whenever we had the chance, we conveyed Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving concern, informed the people about our Association, and the connection between flash floods, storms and other signs of climate change and factory farming and eating meat and other animal products. We pray for a quick recovery of the flood victims, and that these natural disasters will soon end as more people adopt the compassionate, vegan diet.
Expenditures By The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association For Flood Relief Work in Germany
|Monetary contributions to the affected people||42,300.00||A|
|Food parcels distributed (water, juice, vegan chocolate cakes, fruits, snacks, vegan cheese, vegan ham, nuts, raisins, vegan hamburgers and tissues)||1,173.50||B|
|Cleaning tools (brooms, shovels, rubber boots, and gloves etc.) and transportation||500.00|
|Total|| EUR 43,973.50
Flood Relief Work – June 18, 2016
Relief Efforts in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Steinkirchen und Braunsbach – June 5, 2016