16th June, 4.30pm: Forty one year old Basu Dev Bhatt was just getting inside his house as it had begun to rain and he was telling his youngest daughter Kushi to get indoors as the rain was getting heavier and heavier; it felt like the sky was bursting open and the rain was getting more intense. There was shouting and confusion all around and they were being told to vacate their homes. Basu Dev just could not understand what was being told to him but he too told his family members to move outdoors and tried to take some things out of his house. In a matter of minutes, the water came gushing in to their house and he recalls that the water level was over 40 feet high. Basu Dev and his family left everything behind and rushed to save themselves. Minutes after they climbed over to the fields nearby, and as they watched from there in stunned disbelief, the waters took down his house with everything in it and then it disappeared from their sight. Even the land where his house stood could not be seen as the waters had washed away everything including the soil, up to a depth of 40 feet.
Basu Dev was in a state of great shock and he said that everything felt so unreal, like it was a dream. A few hours later when he saw his entire family (wife- Vijaya Dev Bhatt, elder daughter-16 year old Rekha, Son- 10 year old Abhishek, youngest daughter Kushi and Kartik Nand Shemwal, his 60 year old father-in-law) sitting together crying, it was only then that reality struck! He and his family had lost everything…. except for the clothes they were wearing!!
Basudev Bhatt comes from a very poor family and is a hard worker. He put in a lot of extra work to provide for his family and somehow with great efforts, he managed to find employment in Germany. He worked there for five years. After he saved enough, he moved back to India with his family, constructed a big house in the Tiloth village, Uttarakhand, admitted his children in good schools and settled down there. To ensure a steady income, he set up a flour mill and ran the small business successfully. Everything was going good for Basu Dev and his family till that day when disaster struck. The cloud bursts, incessant rains, flash flooding and landslides resulted in heavy loss of lives as well as destruction of houses and bridges and the whole of the village Tiloth was affected. Many are still reported missing; people are in a state of shock, unable to comprehend the extent of the disaster and the great loss it has caused in their lives. Basu Dev Bhatt and his family seem to be among the worst hit; he is physically sick, mentally and emotionally drained of all energy and his family is in a state of turmoil.
Operation Blessing (OB) of CBN India had organized a medical/relief camp in this village. They have treated over people and have provided food for and have also distributed other emergency supplies. Basu Dev and his family also were among the many other beneficiaries; they received clothes for the entire family, utensils for cooking, blankets to keep them warm and sufficient provisions that would last them for a month.
The OB team tried to help this family further by taking them to the base camp at Uttar Kashi where the counseling team spent time with the family; talking to them and praying for them. This time spent in fellowship with the team was very fruitful for Basu Dev and his family felt encouraged and relieved from all the anxiety and stress that they’ve been going through. They even joined the team members as they attended the Sunday worship that was held at the relief camp.
Basu Dev with and his family are presently staying at his friend’s house and the provisions given by OB are a great blessing to all of them. Basu Dev has regained his composure and is now hopeful that he and his will be able to get through this difficult phase. Operation Blessing is also trying to find ways to support Basu Dev as he re-establishes his business.