India Flood: Please Help Uttarakhand!


Charlie: My friend Krish from school has a Grandpa. His Grandpa lives with him in New Jersey but he’s from India. His Grandpa went to Uttarakhand because there was a flood there and he went there to help the people who lost their families. My family has been praying for him. He went to Uttarakand alone because he wants to help people. We hope that he succeeds. Jack, say something profound now.

Jack: What does profound mean?

Charlie: You’re in second grade, you should know that.

Jack: By now, you should have known I was kidding… I know what profound means. Almost 6,000 people died in a very bad flood. Our friend’s Grandpa doesn’t have family in Uttarakhand. He has a nice family in New Jersey. He lives in a nice house. We met him one day and we learned about what happened in the flood. He’s going to help people who lost family for three years.

Charlie: He does have family in his heart.

Mom: Just to give you some important background information… Charlie and Jack have a great friend. On a playdate recently, we met his Grandfather, Mr. Shiv Thapar. We learned that heavy flooding in Uttarakhand on June 15 and 16, due to torrential rain, glacial leaks in the Himalayas, and a devastating cloud burst, swept away thousands of people, homes, roads, cattle and buildings. According to reports, more than 580 people are confirmed to have lost their lives, but almost 6,000 more are missing still and feared dead. The devastating floods and landslides will have long-lasting effects on the region and its people. Uttarakhand has many important pilgrimage sites and it is estimated that approximately 110,000 pilgrims, residents, and tourists were evacuated from the flood-ravaged area. Mr. Shiv Thapar told us that the economy of Uttarakhand relies on tourism from the pilgrimages to important temples. Most of the husbands and fathers work in the mountainous areas, leading tours to these pilgrimage sites. Many died in the floods, leaving behind their wives and children who relied on their wages. 47 million domestic tourists and a half million foreign tourists were expected to travel to the Uttarakhand region in this coming year alone. The flash floods eroded this entire industry and also damaged the farmland and washed away the summer crops. Winter crops are not expected to yield a harvest this year.

Jack: Mr. Thapar doesn’t even have family there. If he wanted to help, he could have just sent money. But he did more than that. He actually went there. It’s very dangerous in Uttarakhand because the roads were destroyed. He said he had an idea of a better way to help the widows and children. His idea was to go there and find about 25-30 families who he could help. Instead of helping the families for only two or three weeks, he’s going to help these families for THREE years!

Mom: Yes, he has found 30 families to “adopt,” meaning that he will financially support them in every way for three years until the family can develop other means to support themselves (for example, a son growing old enough to take over as head of the household). He plans to provide housing assistance, food, education, and more to sustain these 30 families. He is doing this with his own savings as he felt a calling to help people he doesn’t even know.

Charlie: Can you believe that Mr. Shiv Thapar is sacrificing for the people who lost their families in Uttarakhand? Can you believe that one man would leave his nice house and go to such a dangerous place on his own? Can you believe how brave he’s being? How do you think Krish feels? Write a comment for your answer. My opinion is concerned. I think he is concerned for his Grandpa. I think he is also proud because, well, because his Grandpa is brave and determined to complete his mission.

Jack: Something profound. Ok, I’ll say the real profound thing. Krish’s family is worried for him and they were very surprised when they heard his plan. He’s giving his own money to people he’s not familiar with. We are just donating some money. We are just doing our small part. He is doing what most people wouldn’t do. Most people wouldn’t want to sacrifice their own time and money for someone else. Would you go? I would be very scared to go. Do you want to do your part?

Charlie: We’re doing a fundraiser to help Mr. Shiv Thapar on his wonderful mission.

Jack: I bet the families would be very happy if you helped. Some people are in need and this is a ticket to help them.

Mom: Our family was tremendously moved by this story of personal heroism. Mr. Thapar, his family, and all of the people of Uttarakhand will stay in our prayers. Please help by donating any amount possible. All proceeds will go to this amazing mission.

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