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Indian-Americans Playing Important Role in Hurricane Harvey Relief

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Hurricane Harvey

In the wake of catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, Indian-Americans are playing an integral role in relief efforts.

HOUSTON (Diya TV) – In the wake of catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, Indian-Americans are playing an integral role in relief efforts.

Temples, Gurdwaras and mosques have opened their doors to provide shelter. Several Indian restaurants are giving away food and water, medical supplies like surgical-mask packages, medicines and gloves as well as toiletries, baby food and cleaning supplies. Many are also providing medical assistance.

Among the organizations taking part in relief efforts is SEWA International, which has mobilized over 800 volunteers for the ‘rescue efforts, which have turned into relief efforts. SEWA mobilized boats, trucks, and automobiles to rescue people, working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Coast Guard. This is a noble and amazing thing to volunteer for, helping out those who are in desperate need. It is no wonder that coast guard flags for sale are adorned on walls and homes to show support for these necessary services.

According to a Sept. 7 bulletin from SEWA, volunteers are serving 1,000 hot meals daily, helping with cleaning efforts for under-served areas, and have delivered 10 truckloads of materials to support affected families. SEWA volunteers have contributed over 21,000 hours of volunteer work, while 687 people have been rescued.

“We plan to support rebuilding efforts of homes that need to be fixed through a public-private partnership with U.S. government agencies and many of the Indian-American entrepreneurs in Houston,” stated Gitesh Desai, president of SEWA Houston. There are many options for companies, from Ace Roofing Company for those homes left shelterless to companies to relevel and repair foundations, and others to entirely rebuild homes for those who lost everything in the wake of the Hurricane.

The volunteer efforts are just the start. Though FEMA will provide financial assistance, families wills till face unmet needs. SEWA has reached one quarter of their $1 million fundraising goal, having garnered $250,000 in donations as of Sept. 7.

In addition, many Indian-American businesses have opened their doors to provide meals and shelter to those displaced from the storm.

Hindus of Greater Houston, India House, India Culture Center, the Indo-American Charity Foundation and the Indo-American Political Action Committee have been helping in the coordination of relief efforts also.

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston plans to work with the Small Business Administration and its District Director Tim Jeffcoat in organizing seminars on business loans in the regions affected.

The greater Houston is home to around 150,000 Indian-Americans. Around 30,000 people were evacuated as Harvey bolted through the Houston area. According to Anupam Ray, India’s Consul General in Houston, the population of Indians among them would be in the high hundreds.

“I am proud of the Indian community in Houston. One of the incredible things I saw during Hurricane Harvey is how Indians stepped up to join relief efforts. This was in the best traditions of America and of India,” Ray said.

Harvey belted out five straight days of rain totaling close to 52 inches in some locations. Harvey landed as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, delivering the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental U.S. The storm has claimed at least 47 lives.

FEMA Director Brock Long called Hurricane Harvey the worst disaster in Texas history.

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign | Diya TV News

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV) — Indian American Democrat Shrina Kurani is running for Congress in California’s 42nd district and is preparing to take on 15-year Republican incumbent Ken Calvert. Kurani is a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur and says she’s running to create more sustainable jobs in her community and to take on the status quo in Washington DC.

More than 30 interfaith organizations in the U.S. are urging the State Department to sanction India and designate it as a country of “particular concern”. Their resolution claims that the Indian government is promoting policies that lead to the persecution of religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Despite growing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Japan, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony got underway. India is sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympics with120 athletes competing across 85 events.  The country hopes to win medals for shooting, wrestling, boxing, archery and badminton.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Nearly 200,000 ‘Documented Dreamers’ appeal to Congress for help

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Nearly 200,000 'Documented Dreamers' appeal to Congress for help | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — With no clear path to citizenship and facing deportation, younger Indian Americans who have aged out of their parents’ visas are now appealing to lawmakers for help. The Migration Policy Institute says about 190,000 kids and young adults will be in this situation once they turn 21 years old. Some of them have now formed a coalition saying it’s time to address this ongoing issue.

Electronic signature platform DocuSign appointed Indian American Shanthi Iyer as its new Chief Information Officer. Iyer spent more than 20 years at Cisco and will lead Docusign’s efforts to improve employee productivity and the customer experience.

And Indian start-up SimSim has been acquired by Youtube. The company helps small businesses connect with social media influencers and customers. The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed but insiders say the company was valued at more than $70 million.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan

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Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan | Diya TV News

KANDAHAR (Diya TV) — Pulitzer Prize-Winning photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The 38 year old Indian national was Reuters news agency’s chief photographer in India. Siddiqui was credited for capturing some of the most powerful images during the Covid-19 pandemic.

17-year-old Indian-American Samir Banerjee clinched the junior Wimbledon singles tennis title. Celebrating Samir’s achievement, many Indians took to social media to congratulate the youngster.

Jeff Bezos blasted off into space Tuesday on his Blue Origin rocket ship. It was the company’s first flight with people on board.  Bezos is now the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft. The Amazon founder was accompanied by his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas — the youngest and oldest to ever fly in space.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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