Permanent houses were provided to Tsunami victims at village Cuddalore Alikuppam in the Kancheepuram district. The local fishermen community gave the KHW team a very warm traditional welcome and expressed gratitude for the helps received initially for livelihood restoration and later for permanent housing. [READ FULL REPORT]
‘..just help us get our livelihoods back..'
- a headload fish vendor -
December 26th, 2004 the coastline of South Asia was hit by an enormous tidal wave caused by an earthquake in the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra . The wall of water reportedly at times 33 feet (10 m) high flattened houses caused widespread destruction.
Among the millions of people who were affected by the Tsunami, fisher folk families had to bear the brunt of death and destruction. Living in close proximity to the sea, they did not get an opportunity to save their lives or property. Thousands died and many more thousands went missing. Large numbers of families lost their earning members and every third reported death was of a child.
In India , Tamilnadu state was worst affected and recorded the maximum casualties, with the highest casualty in the district of Nagapattinam. The Asian Tsunami was perhaps the most traumatic event in recorded human history.
From September 2005 KHW decided to get directly involved in the rehabilitation process. Livelihood restoration was identified as the key need towards empowering and developing the affected communities. KHW believes that enabled and empowered communities can take care of their needs in the best possible way and according to the ways, traditions and wisdom. Hence the emphasis on livelihood restoration and strengthening.
Four villages were identified in the districts of Kanchipuram and Nagapattinam. Many marine fishermen communities had received boats from various relief agencies while their need for fishing nets had not been adequately addressed. Absence of appropriate nets meant under or non-utilization of the mechanized boats. Gaps were identified for livelihood interventions in an attempt to ensure that the livelihood concerns of the selected communities were met.
n KHW tried to identify the invisible victims of the tsunami, the backwater fishermen, the laborers, the landless farmers, the head load fisherwomen, the salt pan workers, etc.
n Loss of family livelihoods had meant that the children had been deprived of adequate nutrition and care. KHW decided try to address this situation.
In order to better manage KHW direct initiative the following steps were taken:
Field office for Kancheepuram District was set up in Tambaran on the outskirts of Chennai. Office space with associated infrastructure is being provided by KHW-India's local strategic partner, Peniel Mission Trust.
Rev. J. Devaputhiran was appointed as the Program Manager for Kancheepuram district.
Dr. P. V. Ravichandiran was appointed Program coordinator for the Nagapattinam district and a field office was set up in Vedaranyam, Nagapattinam. FACE as the local strategic partner facilitated KHWs implementation through its network NGOs and volunteers. [FACE - Federation of Associations for Community Empowerment, a network of over 250 grass root NGOs in Tamilnadu].
The following important guidelines have directed KHW implementation:
KHW-India's direct intervention included the following initiatives:
- We will listen to the community and will endeavor to meet the needs identified by them.
- We will respect and build upon community knowledge and wisdom.
- We will collaborate with, and seek guidance from grassroots civil organizations, leaders and government officials.
- We will remain very sensitive to the needs of the marginalized and the voiceless, especially children, women and the aged.
- We will endeavor to identify gaps in the area of livelihood, shelter [intermediate & permanent], health, care & development of the most vulnerable.
- We will try to focus on and develop innovative interventions.
- We will try to engage with identified communities over a long term to ensure
suitable development and positive change.
- We will strive to develop the capacity and competence of grass root civil organizations especially in the area of disaster management and mitigation.
Kancheepuram district, Tamilnadu, India -
After extensive consultations with community, government and other NGOs the following interventions were undertaken in the district:
Village Chememcherry Kuppam:
[Restoration of fishing assets of marine fishermen community.]
5 Mechanized Fiber Boats and 5 sets of Nako fishing nets with associated accessories were provided to the community. Each of these boats will be jointly owned by 4 families each. Intervention benefitted 20 families
[Restoration of Fishing assets of marine fishermen community]
Identified gap 60 sets of Ilya [Mackerel] fishing nets with associated accessories. Other NGOs have provided 60 mechanized boats but inadequate fishing nets. KHW provided 60 Ilya [Mackerel] nets with associated accessories. Each net set will be jointly owned by four families.
Intervention benefitted 240 families.
Village Alikuppam :
[Restoration of fishing assets of marine fishermen village community.]
25 Mechanized Fiber Boats and 25 sets of Ilya [Mackerel] fishing nets with associated accessories provided. Intervention benefited 100 families. The distribution ceremony held on 22 nd November and was attended by Mr. Dhanapal, Chairman District Panchyat and Planning Committee, Mr. P. Vasudevan, MLA, and many other leaders and officials.
- The process of identifying more gaps is going on. Also the government has asked KHW to help in the construction of permanent houses in the district -
Nagapattinam district Tamilnadu , India -
[Restoration of fishing assets of backwaters fishermen community]
As recommended by our local strategic partner FACE, and after appropriate discussions with the community and the government the following interventions were carried out at village Serethalaikkadu, Vedaranyam.
- 18 mechanized fiber boats and 18 sets of fishing nets with associated accessories.
- Child Development Program: since livelihood suffered a setback in
The region and the it will still take time for the livelihoods to be completely restored. Due to this malnourishment among the children is rampant. KHW conducted a health evaluation and which indicated low health-nutritional status of the children. Thus a program was initiated in September 2005 to provide nutritional supplement regularly to 322 children initially for a period of 6 months.
There are areas where despite assets communities cannot use them as waterways are full of sand/silt. Clearing appropriate locations or making channels will positively impact the livelihood of entire villages. KHW's next phase of direct intervention will focus on communities and areas which still suffer because of a lack of adequate and or appropriate means.
Many other areas have been identified for intervention. Most pertain to strengthening of livelihoods. Some important interventions identified are:
- Livelihood strengthening programs for the marginalized groups like, headload fisherwomen, dalits and marginal farmers.
- Clearing/cleaning/deepening of traditional water harvesting structures [tanks] and reinforcing their sides under cash for work program.
- Deepening of channels in identified swamps and estuaries to clear water passages and strengthen the livelihoods of both marine and backwater fishermen.
- Repair of fishing assets [boats and engines] of identified communities.
- Repair and strengthening of temporary shelters.
- Construction of interim and permanent shelters.