Indo-American Disaster Relief Council with assistance from Indo-American Charity Foundation, India Culture center, India House, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Indo-American Political Action Committee and Indo-American Doctors Association coordinated assistance to hurricane IKE victims soon after IKE hit Gulf Coast.
Assistance to fill FEMA forms on line and basic medical services were organized at India House in September and October 2008. Then the focus shifted to Galveston. Indo-American organizations helped IKE victims with web-site update to match need and resource and mental illness counseling. Request was received from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) to assist 53 Indian graduate students and Post-Doc, who because of their visa status do not have access to any Federal disaster assistance.. Request was also received from Help4galveston which coordinates non-profit organizations in rendering rehabilitation and other settlement services to IKE victims.
The Indo American community launched a fund raising campaign to help the above two causes. A total of $13,000 was collected from the following organizations and individuals. India Culture Center, Indo American Forum of Fort Bend, Bhutada Family Foundation, Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, Indo American Political Action Council, Sri Meenakshi Temple, the India House, Indo-Americna Forum of Fort bend, Tie Houston, Club 24and Bhutada Foundation. A number of individuals had also provided valuable funds to help these Ike victims including Jugal Malani, Dr. Virendra Mathur, Ashok Dhingra, Sam Kannappan and Ramesh Cherivirala. The Indo American Charity Foundation matched the fund raised to bring the total to $23,000. On December 2nd, two checks for $13,000 each were presented to UTMB Graduate School and the Galveston Recovery Fund in the presence of Honorable Sanjiv Arora, Consul General of India at Houston and Hon. Lyda Ann Thomas, Mayor of Galveston. Receiving the check for UTMB was Dr. Coppenhaver, and . Mrs. Erin Toberman received the check on behalf of Galveston Recovery Fund.
At the outset of the function, Consul General of India Honorable Arora and Mayor Honorable Thomas expressed strong condemnation of the dastardly terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India and condolences for the families of the victims and all others who have suffered during the heinous attacks. All present observed minutes silence in the memory of the victims of these terrorist acts as well as to remember all those who had lost their lives in the wake of hurricane IKE.
Several officials from both Galveston City Hall and the UTMB were present. Mayor Thomas of Galveston and the City manager, Steve leBlanc were greatly appreciative of the Indio-American community′s contributions to Galveston. Attending the function from the Indo American community were Mr. Sam Kannppan and Mrs. Meenakshi Kannappan, Ms. Abirami Kannappan, Mr and Mrs. Appan, Dr. Venu Menon, Mr. Arumugam, Mr. Bangar Reddy, Mr. Ramesh Cheirvirala. Mr. Vale Subramanyam., Mr. Sanjay Ram. Mr. Nat Murthy, Dr. Mani Subramanian, Anand Ramamurthy and Brij Agrawal.
After the check presentation, Harish Krishna Rao, Director, Galveston Housing Authority, gave the group an extensive tour of the city to gain a full appreciation of the recovery work in progress. This convinced the group that the recovery process is long and arduous and requires the continued help from generous citizens of the community. Donation checks may be sent to Mr. Nat Murthy, Treasurer, Indo American Charity Foundation, Ike Relief Fund at 5890 Point West Drive, Houston, TX 77036.
Picture: Check presentation at City Hall Chambers, Galveston