New Talavan & New Orleans Situation Report
Posted September 1, 2005
ISKCON New Talavan/New Orleans Disaster Relief Website: http://www.newtalavana.org/
A Letter from Bir Krishna das Goswami (GBC-New Talavan/New Orleans):
Hare Krsna! Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Nrsimhadeva!
On Monday August 29 ISKCON New Talavan and ISKCON New Orleans were hit by Hurricane Katrina, a devastating Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 MPH. The eye of the storm came ashore near Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, and passed within 10 miles of New Talavan.
On Monday evening (after the hurricane passed) the New Orleans devotees reported that there was no wind damage at the New Orleans temple and residential building although all the trees in the area were down. There was no electricity or phone service. The devotees were all safe and the Deities were being served nicely.
However the next day two of the levees in the city broke and the city began to fill up with water. Most of the city of New Orleans is below sea level and at this time 80 percent of the city is under water. We have not heard from the devotees in New Orleans since the break in the levees. We are praying for their safety. The Mayor has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire city. It is most likely that the water has risen to at least 10 feet around the temple which means that the temple room and kitchen are under water and sustaining extensive damage.
By Krsna's grace and Lord Nrsimhadeva's mercy, everyone at New Talavan is OK. There were no casualties or injuries.
Here are the details about New Talavan: By dawn on Monday the winds were over 60 MPH. The hurricane peaked about 11 AM. There was a short lull and then the winds picked up again in the reverse direction. Many trees are down-up to 50% of trees in some wind-exposed areas. The roads are completely blocked, electricity and phones are down, even cell phones because the towers rely on electricity to function.
We had no significant damage to the Temple and kitchen. There was some slight damage to the men's ashram, temple office and sannyasi quarters. There was heavy wind and rain damage to the Gurukula building, and our workshop building was devastated. One devotee's trailer was destroyed by falling trees, and another devotee's cottage lost part of the roof. There may be other damage in remote parts of the farm that we have not yet seen. Extensive cleanup and repairs will be required before we are back to anything near normal status.
Krsna's cows are fine; as far as we know none were injured by falling trees. They were seen placidly grazing in 120 MPH winds! Cows are something else. We do have a lot of fence damage, however, and will have to manage our herds carefully to keep them on the property and out of danger until the fences are repaired.
We do not expect to have electricity for a few weeks. Roads everywhere are blocked by fallen trees until county bulldozers can get around to clearing them. So no one is going anywhere for awhile. Fortunately, we have plenty of food, gasoline and diesel fuel. Our water system has a propane-powered generator.
As soon as we can clear some roads, we will have a diesel generator for the temple and kitchen. The devotee community is pulling together to repair the damage, and we expect that things will turn out well. We are thankful for Krsna's merciful protection.
We are requesting the world-wide community of devotees to assist in repairing the damages sustained at New Talavan/New Orleans. These two temples were established by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
We estimate that the cost of repairs in New Talavan and New Orleans will exceed $100,000. Of course they could be far more depending upon how damaged the New Orleans temple is. In addition the temples will be without any income for the next few months.
We have set up an account for donations to this most important cause. You can send your donations to:
(made out to ISKCON-disaster relief program)
ISKCON-disaster relief program
PO Box 897
Hillsborough, NC 27278
*Bank Wire Transfer:*
ISKCON-Disaster Relief Program
Bank Routing Number: 053100465
Bir Krishna das Goswami