By Surrey Center, United Kingdom Relief Team (Originally in English)
From mid-December 2013 to mid-February 2014, the United Kingdom experienced a period of extreme weather during which at least 12 major storms occurred, leading to severe flooding, transport disruptions and damage in many parts of the country. The most severely affected areas were Southern and Eastern England, including Weybridge and Guilford in Surrey, low-lying parts of Oxford, and parts of Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, and the Somerset Levels. Residents were evacuated from their homes for weeks and moved to local community centers where they received urgent necessities. On the Somerset Levels, residents of the village of Muchelney were trapped by flooding, with the only way in or out being by boat. The army was also called on to fill sandbags in Kent, where everyone pulled together to help. Concerned about the people’s plight, Supreme Master Ching Hai contributed GBP 6,070 and asked our local Association members to provide relief. With Master’s contribution and GBP 1,795 from our Association members, a team from the Surrey Center traveled to the affected areas.
Pitstop Homeless Day Centre
Upon hearing that the volunteer-run Pitstop Day Centre for homeless and less fortunate individuals was in need of aid, our team visited the facility, and learned that it had been badly damaged by flooding. The kitchen appliances, furniture and computers were all ruined. Our team provided a cash contribution of GBP 1,000 for urgent relief and recovery of the facility along with eight sets of tents and sleeping bags, two cordless phones and a supply of canned and dry foods. Mr. Peddie thanked Supreme Master Ching Hai, our Association and all those who had come together in the Day Centre’s moment of need, for their kindness and compassion.
Helping Flood-Affected Families
On January 8, 2014, in response to an appeal for help from flood-affected individuals, we visited two families in Yalding, Kent. The floor, furniture and kitchen equipment in their homes had been ruined by the flooding, and the damaged items were not covered by insurance. The families consisted of an elderly retired couple and a single mother with two school-aged children. We contributed GBP 500 cash to each family, conveyed Supreme Master Ching Hai’s love and concern, and presented them with copies of Master’s publications, The Key of Immediate Enlightenment and From Crisis to Peace – The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer. The mother and children also received some vegan chocolates and copies of Master’s books, The Birds in My Life and The Noble Wilds. The families were deeply grateful and touched by Master’s love and generosity, and asked us to convey their sincere thanks and love to Her.
Flood Recovery and Stables for Animals
After learning the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, which had been affected by a winter storm on January 1, 2014, was in need of help, we sent them a gift of GBP 500. These funds would be used for repairing the roofs of the sanctuary’s shelters, which were damaged in the storm. The facility is home to more than 400 animals. In support of the staff’s plea to build new stables for older horses that needed night accommodations, our Association members contributed GBP 2,765 from the relief fund to the stable-building project.
Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB) Team
On February 8, 2014, our representative presented a contribution of GBP 1,500 to the Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB) team, along with a selection of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s books and DVDs, as well as vegan cakes and cookies.
Since January 2014, BARB has been at the forefront of a huge rescue operation in the area of the Somerset Levels. Heavy rainfall in the area caused flooding, and many homes were cut off from the world, leaving families dependent on outside help to bring them food and necessities, and to ferry them in and out of their villages. When in the week of February 3 the situation became worse and water levels rose even higher, more than 100 residents had to be evacuated. Our team assisted the police in taking people to places of safety.
The BARB Chairman Mr. Mark Newman, who was deeply thankful to Supreme Master Ching Hai for Her generous donation, explained that the group needed to replace one of its rescue boats and that Her contribution would help them buy a new boat. BARB is run solely by volunteers, and relies on gifts from the public to remain in operation.
Somerset Community Foundation
As Somerset Community Foundation was the main community group in the most flood-prone region providing urgent relief to individuals affected by flooding, we contributed GBP 500 in support of its work.
Recipients were very touched by Master’s contributions and sincerely expressed their gratitude and love to Master. They said how people in times of disasters had come together and shown great love for each other.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association
for Flood Relief Work in the United Kingdom
|Contributions to the Pitstop Day Centre, Surrey||A|
|Cash given as a relief fund||1,000|
|Eight sleeping bags and two cordless phones||200|
|Red packets for homeless people||90|
|Contributions to residents of Yalding, Kent||1,000||B|
|Contribution to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary||C|
|Funds for roof repairs||500|
|Funds for construction of new horse stables||2,765|
|Contribution to Burnham Area Rescue Boat team in Somerset||1,500||D|
|Contribution to Somerset Community Foundation||500||E|
|TOTAL|| GBP 7,865