Reporting from Chennai about the Relief efforts on the Tsunami hit areas.

This entry is part [part not set] of 44 in the series 20041230_Issue

அறிவிப்பு Phone: 1-888-TALK-2-AID

Dear Friends,

Reporting from Chennai about the Relief efforts on the Tsunami hit areas.

After the initial shock and chaos, we are now quite well organized to handle

the relief efforts. A number of organizations have started working

together to handle the relief work – AID, TNSF, Pondicherry Science Forum,

DYFI, Vidyarambam, Pratham and the PHM Organizations. We have formed a

quick informal coalition to coordinate this work. As of now the state level

coordination is being done from the AID-India office in Gopalapuram Chennai.

We are together working on relief efforts in Chennai, Cuddalore and

Pondicherry, Nagapattinam and Kanyakumari.

The relief work is planned in 3 phases:

(1) Immediate Relief – food, clothing, blankets, temporary shelter,

medicines and health camps for emergencies and epidemics

(2) Second Level Relief – Construction of huts and houses and health needs

(3) Third Level Relief – Livelihood needs for the families affected –

forming cooperatives and providing livelihood support like boats, nets etc.

Right now all our focus in on the first phase.

In Chennai – we have divided ourselves into 3 teams:

1. Collection and Information Team: This team will handle calls,

receive donations of money, clothes, medicines, blankets and vessels and

send receipts, give information on the current status of relief work. This

team will also give out press releases, send out email reports and call for

further donations based on the needs. This is the team that people from

outside must contact.

The people to contact:


Phone Number

Bharati/Manohar/Hari (AID office )


Ravishankar (IIT Prof)


Chandra Anil



Smitha Kalyani


Vibha Ravindran


2. Allocation and Distribution: This team will get the needs from

various field locations, sort the materials collected, divide it up for

different locations based on the need and send it to the field coordinators

for distribution.

3. Field Team: In each area we have a team of volunteers who will be

coordinating the relief efforts and distribution of materials.

In Chennai we have started the relief work in 5 areas:

1. Pattinampakkam (Foreshore Estate),

2. Tiruvanmiyur ,

3. Olcott Kuppam,

4. Kottivakkam, and

5. Royapuram

In each area we have allocated 2 people to coordinate with the distribution.

These 2 people are taking down names of people, family survey, needs survey

and what is being distributed. The idea is that this individual rapport

that is built will be useful in working with the people over the next few

months – ensuring rehabilitation and livelihood as well. Every day as the

collections are being done, the field coordinators will go to the relief

camps to provide the people with what they need.

This is the plan everywhere – we work with a community, get a rapport during

the initial relief phase and then work with them on the house constructions

and livelihood rehab phase.

In Nagapattinam district – which is the worst hit in Tamilnadu – we have 3

organizations on the field working: Tamilnadu Science Forum, Vidyarambam

and DYFI. We are also trying to get other orgns and the dist administration

into a joint coordination effort. Many of our volunteers of who are from

fishing villages have died and so have many of the children studying in the

support centers. Ranganathan from Vidyarambam left yesterday from Chennai

with a van load of clothes and relief materials. Locally DYFI and TNSF have

collected some materials and started the distribution. We have sent them

some immediate funds and I will be taking more funds and relief materials

with me today.

In Cuddalore district – we have TNSF, PSF and DYFI working together. A

cholera epidemic seems to be starting in both Cuddalore and Nagai – we are

sending out preventive information pamphlets and are also taking medicines

for the people there. Senthil Babu has gone there yesterday.

In Kanyakumari – MALAR is coordinating the relief efforts. Many of the

villages where they are working have been washed away. We have sent Rs.

30,000 yesterday and will be sending more.

I am leaving in a truck with Charles, Damu and Jagdish – with the relief

materials collected here today. Will be leaving from AID office by about

5:00 pm. I will first go to Pondicherry and then to Cuddalore There we will

meet with the local TNSF and DYFI and other teams to plan the relief rehab

work for the next 1-2 weeks. Damu will stay there to continue helping with

the work there as well as to keeping giving the collection/allocation teams

in Chennai info about what is going on and what are the current needs.

Then the truck will go to Nagai and meet with the teams there – to plan out

a joint relief coordination and also plan for the long term rehab work

needed. Charles and Jagdish will stay there for at least a week or ten days

and work with the teams there – and also send us back information about what

is happening.

AID Bangalore volunteers have collected funds and a truck load of relief

materials – they will be coming to Nagai and Cuddalore directly today.

I am sending some of the photos that we took yesterday at the Chennai relief

camps. You can use these for further collections.

What we need in terms of collections:

1. Money – for buying quick relief materials as well as

for the long term. There are many people contributing and wanting to

contribute. Please collect it from people and send it to the AID office:

Cheques can be made in the name of AID-India and sent to:


Old No 132, New No 242,

Avvai Shanmugam Road

Gopalapuram, Chennai – 600 086

(In the US – collections are being done by AID-US – you can contact

1-888-TALK-2-AID or 301-209-0508 for more details. Vibha is also doing

collections for this.)

2. Clothes – particularly blankets

3. Food – rice, wheat and dal – as grains for cooking and using over

the next one week.

4. Medicines (antibiotics, ORS, bandages, cotton, etc – basic first


5. Doctors – people willing to stay in Nagai and Cuddalore and treat

people in health camps.

6. Vessels

For the second and third phase we are planning on community groups and

cooperatives that will jointly construct housing and buy boats, etc.

The total immediate relief budget (from my initial estimate) is about Rs. 20

Lakhs ($40k). This may go up to about Rs. 40 Lakhs ($80k). (This is what we need –

ourselves and the other NGOs and community groups that we are working apart

from what the government is providing.)

The long term relief budget needed is more than a few crores

(almost a million dollar) – but whatever

we can get we can make use of. One boat for 50 people costs about Rs. 1

Lakh ($2500). We will need about 10 boats for each community and will be working

with about 100 communities – a total of about Rs. 10 crores (two million dollars).

Housing will cost about Rs. 50,000 ($1000). There are more than 50,000

people who need this help. You can calculate the total budget required! We will

of course also use the government relief support and try to reach to the most

needy. But in spite of government funds, there will be a lot of need for

rehab support that we will need directly as well.

Please use the information above to raise funds and collect the materials

and to send out appeals. You can also draft short proposals to submit to

your companies and other groups that may be able to give grants for the

above purposes.

There has so far been a great response from all our volunteers and a lot of

individuals from everywhere are contacting us with offer for help. People

from Bangalore, villages in Vembakkam and Banavaram, Colleges in Chennai

(Stella, Ethiraj, IIT, etc), volunteers in the US, Software professionals,

people from slums in Chennai, people living in flats, people from different

NGOs, individuals, etc. But the scale of the problem is so much that we

will need all the help we can get.

We will keep you updated with the information from the field regularly.

Thanks a lot for all your help. If you need more specific info please











Smitha Kalyani








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