Engaged Buddhism: FHSM, a Buddhist non-profit organization, launches humanitarian relief operation after Cyclone Michaung hit southeast India

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Images courtesy of the FHSM

Socially engaged Buddhist non-profit organization, His Sacred Majesty's Foundation (HSM), has launched an emergency humanitarian operation in response to the widespread devastation of southeast India caused by severe cyclonic storm Michaung in December.

“Our foundation has been deeply engaged in relief operations following the cyclones and floods in Tamil Nadu, where the lives of many people have been devastated,” FHSM President Reverend Gauthama Prabhu told BDG. “We are still struggling hard to support the poor, especially the Dalit communities, by providing them with food and other relief materials at a time when people should be celebrating the festive season and New Year. »

Cyclone Michaung formed in the Bay of Bengal in early December. The storm gradually moved northwest towards the eastern coast of India, peaking with sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour and bringing heavy rain to the northeastern state of Tamil Nadu, including the capital Chennai, and southeastern Andhra Pradesh, before making landfall on December 5. Coastal areas were exposed to persistent rain and strong winds, causing widespread flooding in Chennai from overflowing rivers and lakes. At least 18 people are reported to have died in Tamil Nadu, and more than 41 people have been evacuated, including 000 in Tamil Nadu and 32 in Andhra Pradesh. Transport links were either cut or closed preemptively, leading to shortages of essential goods, while commercial and industrial activity was severely affected and farms suffered significant crop damage.

Founder and President of FHSM, Reverend Gauthama Prabhu. Image courtesy of FHSM

“Authorities have attempted to evacuate floodwaters from homes and streets, and some residents say they have been unable to access basic necessities and are experiencing frequent power cuts,” the reverend noted. Prabhu. “At least 31 people have died in the state of Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents. Tens of thousands of people in Chennai and surrounding towns and villages rely on food aid. Television footage and social media showed swollen rivers with floating furniture from homes submerged in water and stranded elderly people and children surrounded by water.

“Houses collapsed and schools, colleges and businesses had to close due to dangerously rising floodwaters. Thousands of people have been evacuated from coastal areas and authorities have set up 5 relief camps on high ground. In some areas, residents are stuck at home, without food, drinking water and electricity. »

Headquartered in Chennai and active in nine Indian states, FHSM is founded and guided by the principles of socially engaged Buddhism, with a focus on helping disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The foundation's work is based on four major propositions: social transformation through the strengthening of grassroots democracy and good governance; and sustainable livelihoods, education and social empowerment; promote alternative health systems; and the protection and conservation of ecosystems. The FHSM is affiliated with the International Network of Committed Buddhists (INEB).

Images courtesy of the FHSM

“The main objectives of our project are to reach neglected areas where marginalized communities live and support their families with relief materials; raise awareness of waterborne diseases and prevention measures; disseminate information about medical assistance administered by the government and other agencies; and report to authorities any discrimination based on caste, religion or ethnicity when accessing relief and other assistance,” Rev. Prabhu explained. “These vulnerable communities include women, transgender people and members of nomadic tribes, who have no social protection and are in desperate need of help.

“In Tamil Nadu, millions of daily wage earners depend on their daily earnings to buy food to sustain their families. The people most affected by this disaster are the daily wage workers, which include manual laborers, rickshaw and cart pullers, street vendors and vendors, domestic helpers, manual scavengers and rag pickers, porters, taxi drivers, construction workers, carpenters, mechanics, gardeners, etc.

Images courtesy of the FHSM

Named in commemoration of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (rc 268-c. 232 BCE), a key figure in the spread of Buddhism across Asia, His Sacred Majesty's Foundation was established in 2007 with the mission of " preserve, promote and disseminate the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and social justice through non-formal education, sustainable livelihoods and conservation of ecology, alternative/preventive medicine, empowerment social, social advocacy and social development in order to restore the human dignity of the poor and marginalized. (Facebook)

“People in these affected areas have been seeking help from our foundation since day one and we are supporting them as much as possible,” said Rev. Prabhu. “I am trying to reach as many people as possible to provide us with assistance that could feed the poor in this very difficult time. We hope that your contribution will keep alive the hopes of thousands of poor and disadvantaged families.

Contact the FHSM for more information:

E-mail: (protected email)
Phone number: +91-44-2228 2218 / +91-97-9123 9333

International donations:

Account name: Trailokya Baudha Mahasangh Sahyak Gana
Bank: National Bank of India
Account number: 40109020696
Fork: Selaiyur, Chennai
Swift Code: SBININBB104
IFSC code: SBIN0000691

Donations in India:

Account name: Foundation of His Holy Majesty
Bank: HDFC Bank
Account number: 50200057087992
Fork: Selaiyur, Chennai
IFSC code:HDFC0000676

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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