Hare Krishna Food For Life Global is joining forces with several ISKCON temples to provide nutritious, hot vegetarian meals to victims of January 12th’s massive earthquake in Haiti.
The quake, which measured 7.0 point on the Richter scale, struck at 5pm local time and is estimated to have killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people, most of whom were buried alive under collapsing buildings. Homes have been destroyed and livelihoods devastated in a disaster that the International Red Cross estimates has affected about three million people.
Food for Life is planning to complement the efforts of bigger agencies such as the Red Cross, CARE and OXFAM, and will be working under the protection of the military from internationally secured sites. Water for Life Global will supply a sanitation service and mobile water purifying system for the project.
ISKCON is providing volunteer support from the USA, Brazil, Hungary, and the UK as well as locally.
Chaitanya Dasa, a Food For Life volunteer especially experienced in disaster relief, is leading the Hungarian team. Back in 2005, Chaitanya received an award from the Hungarian Government for his outstanding services to victims of Sri Lanka’s December 2004 Tsunami.
The relief efforts will initially be funded by ISKCON Hungary, as well as Bhaktivedanta Manor’s welfare arm The Lotus Trust in the UK.
The volunteers—who currently number a dozen, and will soon be joined by congregational devotees—are coordinating food supplies and equipment from the Santo Domingo temple in the Dominican Republic, which they will transport to Haiti once local people have received vital medical help and the roads have been cleared.
They then plan to feed thousands a day with hot prasadam meals, as well as to distribute canned and packaged goods. The initial group of volunteers aim to stay in Haiti for at least one month, after which they may be replaced by others if necessary.
“It will take some time before things stabilize in the country,” said Food for Life Director Priyavrata Dasa, “So this effort is likely to end up as a four-month endeavor.”