By United Kingdom Relief Team (Originally in English)
During September 2012, the worst storm in 30 years hit Great Britain bringing heavy rains and a series of floods to many parts of the country. The severity of the disaster eased in October, but rains and flooding continued periodically. Furthermore, in November, another series of intense rainfall and flooding occurred affecting parts of England, Wales and Scotland, and this continued through to December. Hundreds of homes and business dwellings were inundated during these months. At least seven people lost their lives while over 3,700 people were affected.
On September 29, 2012, we received a message from Supreme Master Ching Hai requesting us to help organize a relief team to provide assistance and to send comfort and Her love to the most affected. She expressed Her concern for the flood victims, especially the children, widows, and those who lost their family members, and sent us GBP 19,000 for the relief effort.
Flood Relief in October
On October 4, our relief team based in Bristol drove about three and a half hours to visit North Clwyd Animal Rescue, where their 60 dogs had to be evacuated to foster homes during the disaster. We told them about Master’s concern for the flood-affected and presented them with Her contribution of GBP 1,000 for the center, with which they were thrilled with. A set of Master’s publications that included The Dogs in My Life, The Noble Wilds, From Crisis to Peace – The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer, and The Key of Immediate Enlightenment Sample Booklet was also given to North Clwyd Animal Rescue. Fortunately, the flood-hit regions have by now dried out with the dogs transferred back to the rescue center, and things are back to normal. The caring organization sent a letter to Master expressing their gratitude and saying they hoped to use the money for future projects such as building an education center to help inform all ages about animal welfare.
Another GBP 500 of Master’s gift was given to a teenage boy, Joe Compton, who was struck and injured by lightning in Swindon, Wiltshire during September. The sum was presented to the teen in the form of a check via Dorcan Academy where he studies. Several of Master’s books and a copy of the DVD entitled Humanity’s Leap to the Golden Era were also given to Joe Compton and his family. In addition, a copy of From Crisis to Peace – the Organic Vegan Way is the Answer and Celestial Artwere donated to his school’s library.
In helping other affected victims elsewhere in England, especially the worst hit northern part, a total amount of GBP 4,500 from Supreme Master Ching Hai was contributed to the British Red Cross team based in this region. We later received a card and a kind letter of appreciation to Master from them.
On October 18 our relief team went to Edinburgh, Scotland and was greeted by Mr. Paul Hendy, the Operations Director of the Scottish Flood Forum. He and his team thoughtfully arranged for us to see the local areas and communities that were hardest hit by the floods.
The team first visited Dura Den, a small village in Kemback. Fallen trees strewn across damaged roads could be seen upon arrival. Mr. Hendy introduced us to an elderly lady who lives alone. The power was cut at her house, where the ground floor was entirely flooded, and her car was also damaged. She was touched to know of Master’s concern in sending her love and comfort from afar with a gift of GBP 1,000 cash.
We were then introduced to the caregiver of Kemback Church Hall that was in need of help to purchase anti-flood equipment for protection of the church. Twenty terraced homes in the same area near the church had also been advised by Mr. Hendy to obtain appropriate anti-flood gates and airbrick covers which will help stop the water from entering their properties. A contribution of GBP 500 cash from Master’s fund was given towards these protection works.
We then visited Comrie, a village in Perth, Scotland. About 40 to 50 bungalows, mostly occupied by elderly people, made up the majority of the households in the area. The residents had to be evacuated within an hour’s time due to rapid flooding. At the time of our visit, some properties were in the process of being rebuilt and had been stripped of all walls and floors. Other properties were on a waiting list and still had an estimated wait of six to eight months for reconstruction. Sandbags were made available at all homes as people feared potential future floods, which can occur between the months of November and January in Scotland. On behalf of Supreme Master Ching Hai, our Association members presented a check for GBP 5,000 to Mr. Hendy for the Scottish Flood Forum. The funds will be used towards flood victims now and in the future.
Flood Relief in December
St. Asaph, North Wales
St. Asaph, a small city in Denbighshire, North Wales, was submerged on Tuesday, November 27, when the River Elwy burst over flood defenses following days of persistent rain. It was one of the worst floods in decades with about 500 homes badly inundated. Upon hearing the news, our Association members immediately visited the disaster victims to deliver Master’s love, comfort and gifts.
Our team set off to St. Asaph in the early hours of December 1, bringing vegan food, snacks and informative flyers on the vegan diet. Upon arrival, we were warmly received by the Mayor of St. Asaph, Councillor John Roberts, and two of his charity trustees at the St. Asaph Cathedral. Councillor Roberts told us about the difficult times that the community was experiencing with the flood issues, and the urgent need of donations. He explained, “The Mayor’s charity fund is set up to help flood victims to provide them with their needs.”
We presented Councillor Roberts with a check for GBP 2,000 and a gift bag of Master’s publications, vegan messages and vegan food. Councillor Roberts was very grateful for Master’s generosity.
We then proceeded to visit the Lyons Robin Hood holiday camp where 50 to 60 families devastated by floods were staying. Each individual camp-home consists of a small kitchen, a separate living area, one to two bedrooms and a bathroom. We met with Red Cross staff at their mobile van in the campsite, and then visited 10 families in need. Most of the flood victims were elderly retired couples and a number of individuals had serious chronic health problems. Some people had home insurance and some did not. They were all devastated by the flooding. “We lost absolutely everything!” said an elderly man.
The flood-afflicted also explained to us, “Our home is ruined not only by the flood but the sewage contamination too.”
One couple told us that they battled with the chest-high flooding to save the family dog and puppy. Another said that they managed to salvage only a few essentials. The flood-affected victims said that the town council had cared for them well, yet were eager to return to their properties.
As one couple told us, “We don’t know when we can go back to our property. The council told us it maybe 3-6 months. We may have to be relocated to a home somewhere else.”
We gave out GBP 750 cash (GBP 50 for each single member household and GBP 100 for each family household) as well as gift bags of vegan food and pamphlets on the vegan diet. The flood victims were touched by our visit and very grateful for the caring attention. They expressed their thanks for Master’s kindness, love and comfort.
Before we left St. Asaph in the evening, we presented a check for GBP 250 to the Red Cross for the needs of the flood victims under their care. They were very appreciative for Master’s contribution.
Throughout our visit, we witnessed the courage shown by the flood victims, the humanitarian work that was carried out by many compassionate volunteers, and a united community working together under such adverse conditions.
On Sunday, November 25, Malmesbury, a small city in Wiltshire County, England, was swept by floods as the River Avon overflowed into the street. Four people had to be rescued from their homes, and dozens more took shelter in local centers. Upon arriving and meeting up with the Mayor of Malmesbury, Councillor Ray Sanderson, our representative was taken to the properties that were affected the worst. Along with a monetary gift, the book From Crisis to Peace – The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer and vegan leaflets were given to each individual or family visited.
The recipients, some shedding tears of gratitude, expressed their thankfulness to Master for her generosity. Master’s contribution towards the city’s recovery from this disaster, a gift of GBP 3,200 was given to the Mayor’s Appeal, as well as a set of Master’s publications, DVDs, and vegan chocolates. The funds will be used to buy essential items for all the worst hit families. Councillor Sanderson was very emotional upon receiving Master’s contribution and kindly invited our representative to return to the city on December 19 for an evening gathering to meet with all the families who received assistance. Each family was given a set of vegan chocolates, vegan cheese and a copy of From Crisis to Peace – The Organic Way is the Answer. We also presented the gifts to the local fire crew that were present that evening.
Many of the victims that Master’s love deeply touched during this devastating flood, later wrote to thank and tell us how the gifts aided them during this difficult time. Mayor of Malmesbury, Councillor Ray Sanderson described Master’s contribution to his community as the most generous gift that will help those who could not get home contents insurance in alleviating some of the costs of replacing their damaged furniture.
We sincerely thank Master for Her benevolence in providing the relief fund, for Her love in action to the flood victims, as well as Her inspiration and guidance to us in helping others. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve others. Our warmest appreciation also to all the officials and personnel working to assist the disaster-afflicted residents.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for
Flood Relief in the United Kingdom
|Cash contributions to British Red Cross England, North Clwyd Animal Rescue, an 11-year-old boy, the flood-affected people in Malmesbury, Mayor of Malmesbury, Councillor Ray Sanderson, and gifts for VIPs (vegan chocolates, vegan cheese and meals.)||9,900||A|
|Cash contributions to Kemback Community Church Hall and the flood-affected people||6,500||B|
|Cash contributions to Mayor of St. Asaph, Councillor John Roberts for the flood affected people in St. Asaph, British Red Cross and nine affected families||3,000||C|
Throughout the relief operation, the team members paid for their own transportation, food and accommodations.