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May 2005

Auroville Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Report

25th March 2005

- by The Auroville Beach Community Relief and Rehabilitation Team

Villages and communities covered

Auroville has been – and continues to be – actively involved in relief and rehabilitation work in 24 coastal villages and communities, together with 9 Auroville beach communities, located in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry Union Territory . The farthest village north is approximately 20 kilometres from Auroville, and the farthest village south is located 8 kilometres from Auroville. All work is being done in collaboration and coordination with the office of the regional Collector and various Government agencies and NGOs working in the area.

Numbers affected

In total 34,585 people are living in Auroville's area of concern. Of these people some 10,425 have been affected in one way or the other by the tsunami. The number of people who died as a result of the tsunami was 104. In total 3,910 houses, 2,320 boats and 16,563 nets have been damaged.

 

Donations received and utilised

At the time of this report, Rs. 2.9 crores (US$ 659,090) had been received for village relief and rehabilitation work, of which 10% has come from Auroville residents, guests and visitors, 9% from elsewhere in India, and 81% from abroad. For the Auroville beach settlements, Rs. 44 lakhs (US$ 100,800) has been received, of which 25% has come from Auroville residents, guests and visitors, 4% from elsewhere in India, and 71% from abroad. Of these sums, the breakdown in expenditure to date is as follows (to nearest rounded off figure):

  1. Emergency relief camps 26th – 31st December, 2004: Rs 2,01,266 (US$ 4,610)
  2. Distribution of food and non-food items: Rs 30,05,535 (US$ 68,855)
  3. Cleaning by AV volunteers/Cash-for-Work project: Rs 7,97,458 (US$ 18,269)
  4. Trauma counseling and health: Rs 5,10,802 (US$ 11,879)
  5. AV beach communities relief: Rs 34,92,517 (US$ 79,996)
  6. Fishing boat engine repair Rs 2,75,731 (US$ 6,319)
  7. Tsunami Knowledge and Coordination Centre: Rs 55,997, (U$ 1,283)
  8. Youth training / Women's handicraft workshops: Rs 77,140, (U$ 1,768)
  9. Administration, communication, overheads: Rs 1,40,061, (US$ 3,210)
  10. Total: Rs 85,56,507 (US$ 196,189)

 

Auroville Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme

Remaining and new funds will be allocated to the various projects aiming at rehabilitation of the affected villagers.

The Rehabilitation Programme consists of four distinct but very much interlinked projects:

(a) Tsunami Knowledge and Coordination Centre: Functioning as an interactive information platform for collecting and sharing all tsunami-related information, spreading of best practices, and development of consensus on rehabilitation strategies and implementation. A public tsunami-related website and a shelter prototype plot will be part of the Knowledge Centre.

(b) Shelters and Infrastructure: It is planned to build or help in the construction of new permanent shelters with accompanying infrastructure.

(c) Ecological Restoration: Trees will be planted on selected plots along the coast to protect the land, combat salt-water intrusion, and stop further degradation of the natural resources. Research, documentation and tree nurseries have started.

(d) Livelihood Projects:

- A wide range of vocational training programmes are

being offered to about 100 fishermen and village youth,

using Auroville's training facilities.

-Various handicraft workshops for women aiming at the

establishment of self-sufficient women's-cooperatives

are taking place in seven villages.

-Some 250 boat engines are being repaired in a special

workshop.

- Cash-for-Work project offers wages to residents in

return for cleaning their villages. Waste management

programmes will be implemented to keep the villages

clean.

 

Paalam-Coordination Structure

In order to ensure the input of the affected villagers and to guarantee a need-based approach for all Auroville's activities, a Paalam (Tamil for ‘Bridge') structure has been set up, in which each village or community is represented by one Panchayat member, one woman, one youth, and possibly one teacher. The Paalams meet every week and form an indispensable source of reflection and information on all projects.

 

Auroville Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Centre, Aurelec,
Auroville 605101, Tamil Nadu , India

Telephone: +91-413-2622184 / 2622979

E-mail: tsunami@auroville.org.in; web: www.auroville.org

 

Rehabilitating Auroville's beach communities

 

To face the tragic consequences of the tsunami, a team was immediately constituted with the responsibility and task of working out solutions to the difficult situation in which many Aurovilians living in the Auroville beach communities were confronted.

The first actions taken by the team were to assess the situation in every community and to release the necessary funds to build temporary fences in order to secure Auroville land and property, and to restore water, electricity and telephone connections wherever necessary. The second priority was to assess the damage to the houses, to estimate the work that had to be done and to release the funds.

Another urgent priority was to evaluate the financial needs of those who had lost their means of income in the disaster. There were four families in this situation. It was decided to provide them with financial support for a period of three to six months or more, plus a certain amount of money in cash to allow them to deal with emergency needs.

The team also identified some business losses that had to be offset. They considered this an important initiative, particularly in the present economic situation of Auroville.

Today, infrastructure and house repairs, personal financial support and business losses have already been tackled and solutions have been worked out. The team is now working on the last part of the operation, which concerns personal losses. These were quite significant and will be covered according to the available funds.

The team would like to take this opportunity to thank all the donors for their generosity and invaluable support (Rs. 44 lakhs or $ 100,800 has been donated for the Auroville beach communities). Thanks to them, we have been able to put all those who have suffered from the tsunami back on their feet and enabled them to rebuild their lives. We would also like to thank all the Aurovilians who have put so much energy and so much of themselves into this operation.

 

see also: Tsunami web pages

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