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We have been all seeing the images of the horrendous destruction, of homes, businesses, and infrastructure caused by Hurricane Katrina. The scenes of devastation caused by the Hurricane along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and the inland communities is like reliving the nightmare of the recent Tsunami in Southeast Asia. The unfolding aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is revealing unimagined heartbreaks. We are beginning to learn about the loss of life and the livelihoods of tens of thousands, and the shocking scope and magnitude of the disaster. We cannot possibly fathom the despair and anguish of the people who have lost everything.

We are witnessing the frustrations of lives disrupted; people suddenly made refugees by the Hurricane, the present inadequate governmental response to urgent health needs and basic hygiene, and the availability of food and safe shelter. The authorities are not allowing residents to return to their homes and communities to find the missing and unaccounted for loved ones or companions, and pets. There is a breakdown of law and order situation in the city of New Orleans, where 80% of City is under water and there is no electricity and drinking water. The conditions of life and safety of residents trapped in the City are deteriorating by the minute. There is a potential for outbreak of disease and misery index to rise to inhumane levels.

This is a humanitarian disaster. People in the devastated region are going to need the boundless goodwill of all Americans. Besides the prayers and universal expressions of concern by people of every faith, culture, and nationality, each of us need to step forward to restore hope, rebuild infrastructure, and provide generous support to meet urgent needs of hundreds of thousands made homeless and ruined by the fury of a natural disaster.

As Sikh Americans, we too have a special responsibility to respond to this crisis for our fellow citizens. Sikhs have a tradition and long history of seva, a mandated and important commandment of our faith: "Vich duniyan save kumayyia tan durgeh baisen paayeeay (Engage in selfless service during your sojourn on Earth to assure a place to be seated in the Court of the Lord upon your return to Him." As individuals, congregations, major successful Sikh businesses, and philanthropic organizations we collected funds and provided material resources and critical skills and services during the Tsunami Disaster. Once again, individually and collectively we must offer hope and healing in the present catastrophe. Let us do all that we can: Collect and channel funds through local Red Cross. Ask Sikh American doctors/nurses to volunteer their time and expertise to Doctors without Borders and the medical network already in place in the New Orleans and other effected areas. Lend a hand or equipment in the massive cleanup operations. Harness Sikh American expertise and resources in rebuilding the infrastructure to bring life back to normal in communities and for people shattered by the Hurricane.

This is going to be a huge task and is going to require long-term acts of generosity.
Let us all be messengers of hope in this hour of crisis for our fellow Americans. There will be light at the end of this dark midnight; it will originate from each of us working to offer our gifts as an act of living our faith in service of others. Earn the gratitude of the American people and blessings of Sutguru. The Sikh scripture affirm: "God is Love. To love God is to love all His Creation. Every act of service is an offering to God." is proud to spearhead this effort and calls upon all Sikh Americans and Sikhs around the world to join in prayer and spirit to serve the cause of humanity and reach out to the people along the Gulf States shocked and devastated by Katrina.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

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