In the Wake of Katrina

I received a letter today from Yogindra Vandana, the president of “New Talavan”, the Hare Krishna Farm in Carriere, Mississippi.

Here are some excerpts:

‘The power of the Lord’s external energy is inconceivable. How one storm can destroy the social structure of an area ranging from 50 miles west of New Orleans all the way to Mobile, Alabama is stunning. In Mississippi, everything from Jackson on south is devastated. There are no commerce, transportation or other normal activities going on.

Katrina:

‘Despite our good fortune to have our temples in both New Orleans and New Talavan emerge relatively unscathed, the harsh reality is that there is no functioning society around us. The devotees in New Orleans are virtually trapped. Although they have supplies, there is no power, running water or cooking gas. The sanitation system is nonexistent. There is no water pressure in case of a fire, and water is still rising in the city from a 500-foot break in the river levee. This just came in this morning’s news:

“NEW ORLEANS – The governor of Louisiana says everyone needs to leave New Orleans due to flooding from Hurricane Katrina. “We’ve sent buses in. We will be either loading them by boat, helicopter, anything that is necessary,” Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. Army engineers struggled without success to plug New Orleans’ breached levees with sandbags, and Blanco said Wednesday the situation was worsening, leaving no choice but to evacuate.

“The challenge is an engineering nightmare,” Blanco said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it’s like dropping it into a black hole.”

katrina 4:

As the waters continued to rise in New Orleans, four Navy ships raced toward the Gulf Coast with drinking water and other emergency supplies, and Red Cross workers from across the country converged on the devastated region. The Red Cross reported it had about 40,000 people in 200 shelters across the area in one of the biggest urban disasters the nation has ever seen.

The death toll from Hurricane Katrina reached at least 110 in Mississippi alone, while Louisiana put aside the counting of the dead to concentrate on rescuing the living, many of whom were still trapped on rooftops and in attics.

A full day after the city thought it had escaped Katrina’s full fury, two levees broke and spilled water into the streets of New Orleans on Tuesday, swamping an estimated 80 percent of the bowl-shaped, below-sea-level city, inundating miles and miles of homes and rendering much of New Orleans uninhabitable for weeks or months.

“We are looking at 12 to 16 weeks before people can come in,” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said on ABC’s “Good Morning America, “and the other issue that’s concerning me is have dead bodies in the water. At some point in time the dead bodies are going to start to create a serious disease issue.”

Yogindra continues:

‘Perhaps when civil and governmental authorities find the New Orleans devotees, they will ship them to New Talavan or engage them in cooking and serving meals to the other storm refugees. If anyone reading this has the ability to communicate by phone, please inform the New Orleans emergency authorities that there are at least 15 Hare Krsna devotees, including the devotees hurt in the recent accident, in urgent need of evacuation at 2936 Esplanade Ave., and if possible they need to get to New Talavan in Carriere, Mississippi, where our community can care for them.

Katrina 3:

New Talavan is a different situation. Although we have well water, LP cooking gas and some bhoga {foodstuffs}, supplies such as LP gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, dahl, rice, oats, cash etc. are running low and need to be rationed. There is no phone service, and the electricity will be out for at least two months. If we don’t start our own massive cleanup operation, it will be months before the local government can clear the county roads. The devotees have already cleared the roads on the farm itself, but we are still cut off from the surrounding area.

Our need and request is to please contact FEMA administrators (601 960-9999) and the Red Cross (800 GET-HELP). Inform them about our community in NW Hancock County, north of Leetown at 31492 Anner Road, We are providing water and meals for locals and 23 devotees on the temple property. If they can supply us with LP gas, rice, oats, beans, corn, canned tomatoes, butter and sugar, gasoline and diesel fuel to run our generator, etc., we can supply meals to many people from the surrounding community.

It is stunning and shocking to have your entire social system stripped down naked. There are some here who have lost their mental equilibrium, perhaps the greatest danger of such a disaster. All of our books distributors and Food for Life collectors worked in the New Orleans tourist district, which is under water and will not reopen for months.

Katrina 2:

We cannot even send or receive mail, which was another important source of income. All the banks and ATMs are closed and inoperative. Thus the only for us to receive funds is electronically. If you read this and want to send a donation, the only way at present is through PayPal.com. At least we can collect donations now and use them to purchase things online as soon as the postal system is functional again.

For the time being, our schedule revolves around the sun coming up and going down. We have altered our temple schedules to accommodate the lack of lighting and water.

Although we are down, we are far from out; so with your prayers and blessings we will be back stronger than ever.’

your servant, Yogindra Vandana das Adhikari

http://www.newtalavana.org/
Posted by Kurma on 1/9/05; 5:08:27 PM

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