U.S. Responds to Earthquake in India

January 29, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On January 29, 2001, The New York Times reported that "the diaspora kicked into high gear over the weekend, as Indian-Americans, reeling from the shock of calamity back home, scrambled to deliver relief to the earthquake-ravaged western Indian state of Gujarat." All over the U.S., Gujaratis took collections to send home as soon as possible, as they waited anxiously for news of relatives and friends. "Worshipers at temples of the Swami Narayan, a predominantly Gujarati Hindu sect, contacted their sister temples in Gujarat to send dollars and procure news of missing relatives." Although there are no reliable numbers, it is widely believed that Gujaratis represent the largest group of Indians in the United States. Indians living in the US have united to help their country, no matter what area of India they come from. Survivors are often not helped by well-meaning donations of inappropriate types and sizes of clothing. Better donations include cellular phones, medicines, bandages, and splints. Cash donations to approved aid groups are best, according to InterAction, a coalition group that is coordinating relief efforts by more than a dozen aid agencies. "For Dayanand Naik, a Scarsdale cardiologist and president of the American Association of Physicians from India, part of the frustration has been in not knowing exactly how to help. In his case, money is no obstacle. With a $1.5 million annual budget and a membership roster of 35,000 doctors, Dr. Naik said yesterday, the group is prepared to send 10 to 15 trauma surgeons to India immediately, as well as $50,000 in cash. The group has made the offer to the International Red Cross, as well as to the Indian Consulate, but has not yet had an answer. 'We're kind of confused about whether our going will be of help or not,' Dr. Naik said."