Vancouver man, Canadian government help India’s flood victims

Pictured here are Ajay and Bippen, the two boys who came to the Dunn’s home selling fruit in Northern India. Submitted photo, Facebook.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Vancouver’s Kevin Dunn is face-to-face with the heartbreak in northern India where landslides and floods from monsoon rains are believed to have left more than 1,000 people dead and tens of thousands more missing or stranded.

Dunn is hoping to do anything he can to help.

Trained in mountain operations through the Canadian military, he’s just waiting for the go-ahead to join the rescue efforts alongside the Indian state police and army.

“As a former military person and former (Ontario Provincial Police) officer, being in these front line situations aren’t new,” Dunn wrote in an email to Vancouver Desi. “I have the time, equipment, and expertise to provide this kind of service should it be required.”

Dunn has been travelling in India with his family since December. They were in Mussoorie, a town in the North Indian state struck by the disaster, Uttarakhand, when the 50 hours of rain hit.

“The on scene situation is fairly dire,” he said.

On Friday, two young boys selling fruit showed up at the home where Dunn’s family is staying.

According to Dunn, the young boys, named Ajay and Bippen, came from a town 35 kilometres away. When they were hit by the flood, the boys’ grandfather raced out of their home to save their cattle, but was swept away with their dog, cat, two ox, cows, bull and a horse — their land destroyed.

“This is just a closer to home incident,” said Dunn. “These stories are everywhere.”

The Canadian government has also sent lifesaving assistance to India, according to a press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

The Canadian Red Cross Society’s Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund is assisting the Indian Red Cross Society to provide clothes, bed sheets, blankets, emergency tents, increased access to safe drinking water and improved awareness of hygiene practices.

Landslides flattened entire towns, roads were washed away and communication links snapped, cutting off many people and necessitating air rescues. About 90,000 people from hundreds of villages and towns hit by the floods have been rescued. On Thursday nearly 300 bodies were cremated and about 3,000 people were still waiting to be rescued, stranded in Badrinath and Harsil towns in the state.

-with files from The Associated Press

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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