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Profile of the land at Repos on 24th September 2013:
It lost up to 6.5 m in 10 days and the beach totally lost ~46m since 2009

 

Auroville’s ongoing struggle with the sea as reported on 24 September 2013

 

Read full report (2.2 mb .pdf)

Since years Auroville’s beach region has been suffering due to erosion of the sand beaches north of Pondicherry, the result of an ecological hazard created by the Pondicherry harbour, which has altered the oceanic currents. In 4 months last year, the beach lost about 25 m and in particular the beach community of Repos lost about 15 m of land.

In November 2012, cyclone Neelam collapsed Repos’ café, left a wreck of another house and severely endangered the house of Repos’ long-term resident and caretaker, Bhaga. At that time, the team of the Auroville Earth Institute (AVEI) managed to safeguard her house by providing supports below the exposed foundations and building a retaining wall in front of them. After the 2012 monsoon, the sea returned a lot of sand to the beach, which covered the work done by AVEI.

This year, however, the sea removed the sand again and during August the retaining wall built by AVEI was again exposed. This prompted a series of emergency measures to prevent the worst from occurring at this part of the beach. Some 70 volunteers worked hard on site on Sundays 15th and 22nd of September, and a team of 15 workers of the AVEI worked non-stop for 8 days including Sundays. The situation has been patched up but danger is by no means over, some houses are bound to collapse.

In the meantime contacts for environmental clearance are ongoing with the officials responsible for the (revised) beach protection plans which are presently pending with the Tamil Nadu Govt. The urgent waiting is for acceptance of the plans and a  timeline for their implementation by the Public Works Department.

 

Photo report of emergency measures

 

Most of the masonry work at Repos happened on Bhaga’s house. Satprem and Lara of AVEI give here a photo overview of their persistent activities regarding Bhaga’s house. Details & photos of work on the other houses, and comprehensive description of work done, materials used, cost and pertinent observations can be found in their

well documented full report.

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