Report on Tsunami Relief Work

Theosophical Order of Service, Chennai, India

10 March 2005

The Theosophical Order of Service has been carrying out relief work for the tsunami victims. The Theosophical Order of Service, Chennai, swung into action within an hour of the tsunami striking the coast. Clothes, utensils, food grains, medicines and money were despatched to coastal districts in TamilNadu like Cuddalore, Sirkazhi and Nagapattinam, which were the worst affected. About two tonnes of food grains, mainly rice, were transported to these places. A consignment of relief material was also flown into the Andamans. A number of children of the Olcott Memorial School were affected by the disaster. Books and school uniforms were distributed among the children who were not included under the government scheme.

The relief phase has slowly given way to the rehabilitation phase. Potable water in the coastal districts is a problem. Three plants with a capacity of 1000 litres per hour (20,000 litres per day) have been acquired by the Theosophical Order of Service for use in coastal TamilNadu, who are also funding most of their running costs for 18 months. Grundfos, a Danish MNC, is donating the pumps. A few thousand persons will be provided with clean water everyday. These plants will be operated and maintained by the Thirumalai Charity Trust, which is an NGO functioning actively in the tsunami-affected areas. The Trust is actively engaged in a number of social welfare activities. A Reverse Osmosis plant (30,000 litres per day) for the Akkaraipetti village, Nagapattinam, in coastal TamilNadu has been donated by Canadian Waterworks with the facilitation of the Theosophical Order of Service. Many more plants are required as the water is becoming more saline / brackish with the onset of summer.

Vocational training centres, wherein the TOS can work with NGOs to re-train persons in vocations other than fishing, are being considered. Tailoring will be one of the focus areas.

The long-term work of the TOS is in urgent need of volunteers and funds to meet the challenge of pressing work and the demand of increasing needs.

The free medical service held at the Social Welfare Centre of The Theosophical Society offers specialist advice in various medical disciplines to a variety of underprivileged patients. The camps attract hundreds of patients. The doctors who volunteer include general physicians, dentists, paediatricians, orthopaedists, ENT specialists, homeopaths, gynaecologists, etc.



Report on Handing Over of Water Purification Plant

A function was held to announce the commencement of the project of the Theosophical Order of Service, to provide clean drinking water to thousands of persons affected by the tsunami in coastal Tamilnadu, by acquiring three reverse osmosis plants with a capacity of 1,000 litres per hour (20,000 litres per day).

The function began with the Universal Invocation followed by a few moments of silence. The welcome address and a report on the tsunami relief work were given by Mr C.V.K.Maithreya, President, Theosophical Order of Service, Chennai. He spoke about the relief phase where clothes, medicines, utensils, food grains, health foods, books and uniforms were distributed. The projects chosen by the TOS in the rehabilitation phase include acquisition of reverse osmosis plants for providing drinking water and alternate vocational training for those affected by the tsunami.

Mrs Radha Burnier, the International President of The Theosophical Society and Theosophical Order of Service spoke on the importance of viewing human problems like malnutrition with concern, besides providing relief during disasters like the tsunami. She spoke of the work of The Theosophical Society and The Theosophical Order of Service.

Mr R. Santhanam, I.A.S., State Relief Commissioner who was the Chief Guest, spoke of the lessons the tsunami had to teach us. He spoke of the spirit of compassion, which was expressed by everyone in the tsunami relief work. He referred to the proactive cooperation between the Government and the NGOs. He spoke of the Government’s plans for disaster management. He lauded the efforts to provide drinking water by running the reverse osmosis plants.

Mr N.K. Ranganath, CEO, Grundfos Pumps, handed over a letter donating pumps for the project. Mr. S. HariharaRaghavan, Secretary, TOS, Chennai, received the letter on behalf of the TOS. Mr. Ranganath gave a brief on the technology of reverse osmosis to the audience.

Mrs Radha Burnier then handed over the operations and maintenance contract to Mrs. Bhooma Parthasarathy of the Thirumalai Charity Trust. Mrs. Bhooma Parthasarathy responded with thanks. She spoke of the hardships of the villagers in coastal Tamilnadu after the tsunami. She also spoke of the various philanthropic programmes of the Thirumalai Charity Trust.

The well-known newspapers, Doordarshan (the Government’s television channel) and the All India Radio covered the function.

Picture of people coming to the new water purification plant for purified waterPeople coming to the new water purification plant for purified water
Picture of inside the new water purification plantInside the new water purification plant

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The Theosophical Order of Service was founded by Dr Annie Besant in February 1908 for the relief of suffering, and is now spread all over the world. The motto, which she chose for the Order, was: ‘A union of those who love in the service of all that suffers.’ TOS groups all over the world work in areas including free medical service, education of the underprivileged, cleaning campaigns, disaster relief, animal welfare and communal harmony.