Indian American succumbs to injuries at New Zealand's White Island volcano eruption

An Indian American man from Atlanta, Georgia, who was injured in December in New Zealand's White Island volcano eruption died on Jan. 20 at the Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. Pratap Singh Chouhan and his wife Mayuari Chouhan were among the 47 tourists exploring the island when the volcano erupted on Dec. 9.

Chouhan, a businessman, was also the president of the Atlanta chapter of Sewa International, a Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit that works in the areas of disaster recovery, education, and development.

According to a press release issued by Sewa International, Mayuari Chouhan, a financial adviser, who suffered burns over 70 percent of her body died at a New Zealand hospital on Dec. 22. Chouhan was burned on 40 percent of his body, the press release said.

They are survived by their three children – Luv, 11, and twin girls Navya and Nidhi, aged 6.

Chouhan’s parents live in India, while his in-laws are in the U.S., Seva International said in the press release. The couple's three children and Mayuari's mother stayed on the ship and were not injured when the volcano erupted

The Sewa International press release says Chouhan “was known for his cheerful approach to life, his active role in fundraising for good causes, his will to help the underserved, and his strong and sustained belief in the concept of ‘sewa’ – selfless service.”

“Pratap ji inspired us to volunteer, to work hard to help the poor and the underserved, and he urged us to go out and raise the money required to do the good work,” the press release quoted Swadesh Katoch, Sewa International’s vice president for Disaster Recovery, as saying.

Viswanath Koppaka, National Marketing Director for Sewa International said Chouhan was “a visionary, down to earth, and enabled the dynamic growth of the Atlanta Chapter, making it the second largest Sewa Chapter in the country,.”

Sewa International president, Prof. Sree Sreenath, Chouhan “was an inspiration. It is hard to replace such people, but we will work hard to ensure that his legacy of good work will not be forgotten.”

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