Morbi in 1979 to Turkey in 2023: Narendra Modi, the humanitarian, has always been there for people in India & the world

Morbi in 1979 to Turkey in 2023: Narendra Modi, the humanitarian, has always been there for people in India & the world

Feb 23, 2023 - 17:30
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Morbi in 1979 to Turkey in 2023: Narendra Modi, the humanitarian, has always been there for people in India & the world

New Delhi: “India has emerged as the first responder to the countries hit by natural disasters in any part of the world,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20. He was underscoring India’s efforts during ‘Operation Dost’ in Turkey in the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes, the worst natural calamities ever since the country was founded.

He said this while meeting with the NDRF team that returned from Turkey after the relief work.

Prime Minister Modi aptly underlined the age-old Indian aphorism of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

But, relief operations in earthquake-hit Turkey are only the latest example. For decades Narendra Modi has always stood tall and as a pillar of strength to help everyone in need. There are several instances where Modi led relief operations during natural disasters in India and outside, providing succour to several nations in times of distress.

Modi has always been a ‘pradhan sevak’

There have been many occasions when PM Modi’s shoulder of support and his leadership have proved to be of great help to people in need.

On August 11, 1979, Gujarat faced an extremely painful tragedy when the dam on Machchhu river gave way and the floods wreaked havoc in Morbi and nearby areas.

The sweeping waves of destruction had risen as high as 30 feet, which claimed thousands of lives after an entire district got submerged in less than 20 minutes.

Narendra Modi, still in his twenties, quickly swung into action for relief work in Morbi. He led from the front in this mission and micro-managed the relief operations.

Modi and his team rushed to the spot to support the survivors. He was at the forefront of all the planning of the relief work.

Modi deployed separate teams to clean roads, clear muck from the houses after the floods. He has deployed teams to pull out the dead bodies from the muck and grime and cremate them.

Modi arranged huge amounts of food material for survivors and managed their distribution.

Modi also managed to bring a team of doctors to prevent the spread of diseases in the aftermath of the floods.

He gathered at Morbi volunteers from across different districts of Gujarat to participate in relief operations.

The trail of destruction the receding waters left behind was not for the faint-hearted. But, Modi did not let his resolve weaken in helping those trying to rebuild whatever was left of their lives.

Modi has always operated from a place of deep empathy and has been proactively involved in the problems of people. No wonder, when the tragedy of 2006 Surat floods wrought down destruction, he resolved that he wouldn’t drink water until people of Surat got access to clean potable water.

The Kutch earthquake struck on January 26, 1991. It was one of the greatest calamities to have affected Gujarat in recent times. Narendra Modi spearheaded the efforts to bring the region back on to its feet.

In 2013, a heart-wrenching tragedy struck Uttarakhand. A terrible cloud burst resulted in a deluge that submerged even the holy Kedarnath shrine.

Modi, then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, played a major role in providing relief material to people there.

Narendra Modi was the only CM who visited Dehradun at that time. Modi requested the Congress-led state government that the responsibility to restore the Kedarnath Valley should be given to him. He came with his officers and had all the data about people from Gujarat stuck in Uttarakhand. He also handed over a cheque of Rs 5 crore to the state government.

Modi government also arranged for the transportation of people from other states. He had also sent train-loads of relief material from Gujarat.

These are only a few examples of the incidents when Narendra Modi stood firmly behind the people of India as a rock.

Modi’s helping hand always extends to the world

The devastating earthquake in Turkey this year was massive and claimed thousands of lives. India under PM Modi was one of the first nations who came forward for providing help. Several videos of Turkish people greeting Indian rescuers also went viral on the social media.

Similarly, in 2015, when Nepal trembled under a massive earthquake that claimed almost 9000 lives, the Indian Airforce (IAF) flew our National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team there.

The Indian Navy was the first to arrive in the Maldives to provide fresh drinking water to over 1,50,000 of its citizens who were facing an acute shortage of potable water in December 2015.

Likewise, India was the first to respond to the devastating floods in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

India has been the first to evacuate its people and also foreigners from war zones, for instance, operation ‘Rahat’ conducted in Yemen in 2015. Of the total 5,600 people, who were evacuated, 960 were foreign nationals.

While it is natural for a prime minister to be benevolently inclined to the cause of its citizens, extending the same amount of empathy and benevolence to those outside of India and promoting their well-being is an extraordinary feat.

It comes innately to Modi.

As part of its humanitarian efforts during COVID-19 pandemic, India initiated ‘Vaccine Maitri’ programme in order to provide poorer countries equitable access to life-saving vaccines.

When thousands of Indians found themselves caught in the middle of a war-torn Yemen in 2015, the Modi government initiated ‘Operation Rahat’ and rescued around 4,640 Indians and also over 900 foreign nationals.

Operation ‘Devi Shakti’ again demonstrated Modi government’s prowess in rescuing Indians from tense situations be it any corner of the globe. After the Taliban had laid siege to the Afghan capital of Kabul post the withdrawal of US troops, the Modi government sent several flights to Kabul and evacuated around 500 Indians and over 200 Afghan nationals, including those from minority communities such as Sikh and Hindu.

A much bigger rescue operation was the ‘Vande Bharat’ campaign. The Modi government repatriated close to 1.8 crore Indians stuck in different countries due to Covid-19. Over 2 lakh flights were undertaken in, arguably, the biggest rescue mission carried out by any country.

If ‘Vande Bharat’ was spectacular, ‘Operation Ganga’ was simply incredible. There was a war raging in Ukraine and thousands of Indians were stranded. ‘Operation Ganga’ was launched to rescue more than 20,000 Indian nationals by ensuring a safe passage from Ukraine and into neighbouring countries such as Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

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