In Tamil Nadu the worst hit areas are Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli (presented in the order from severely hit to slightly affected). The tsunami temporarily rearranged the coastal line causing enormous damage, in terms of lives and property to thousands of coastal community all over. Although the unprecedented scale of human death, homelessness, displaced populations, and damage is largely confined to rural areas rather than key economic and densely populated urban centers and industrial hubs, the economic impact will be felt severely at the local and community levels, dragging hundreds of thousands of already poor people into even deeper levels of poverty.

Relief and rescue: CADRE – India’s response

As soon as they heard of the disaster, CADRE- India volunteers rushed to Alikkal, PillaiThoppu, Malay Manakkudy, Kelay Manakkudy, Vaniyakkudy, Kottilppadu, Kurumbani, Kadiyapattanam, Muttom, Simon colony and Colachal. In the worst hit disaster condition, CADRE – India tried its best to respond to the situation. It went by its core principles of grass root action and networking. And started rendering services in terms of relief material distribution, sorting of relief material, assessment, meeting and interacting with the traumatized victims and peer counseling. CADRE- India facilitated several voluntary groups to move to affected areas and render useful services.

Volunteers from Service Civil International (SCI), helped with assessing the needs of the fishermen. Student volunteers from St. Josephs HS School worked on distribution of medicines, food and other relief material. New clothes and blankets were distributed to affected fishermen families. Within the first two weeks of the relief work, CADRE - India volunteers realized the troubles of the non-fishing families, especially agricultural laborers, who although affected were not getting much relief material. Clothes were distributed to the agricultural land-less laborers in Kottilpadu and Colachal a small hamlet inhabited predominantly by Dalits.

From relief to rehabilitation

Under the Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation, CADRE – India, with financial assistance from Habitat for Humanity International, has taken up house repairing of the Dalit villages of Kottilpadu, Colachel and Simon Colony in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. These villages are fishing sector oriented. Their main occupation before the tsunami was fishing and making boats. With the tsunami both their livelihood and their shelters were havocked.

Colachel is a Dalit village. Here 97% of the houses were thatched houses and a few dilapidated structures also existed. With the tsunami and the cyclone the entire village was shattered. It had 3395 households. 545 of them were without any land records.

In the above mentioned two villages we have successfully completed the repair of 211 houses.

While we were carrying our repairing works in Kottilpadu and Colachel, some NGO’s stopped working in the tsunami affected areas. This brought server difficulties. We requested our partner agency Habitat for Humanity to assist us. With their support, we could extend our house repairing service to the rural people of Simon Colony. Here, we successfully repaired 30 houses.

In short we were successful in providing shelter to 241 tsunami victims.

Livelihood: Skill Training

Habitat For humanity International worked in partnership with CADRE-India to train the women on masonry work and to repair 211 houses. The training constitutes both onsite and offsite. The training period was 4 months and the trainees worked in the house repairing program in the Tsunami affected areas of Kanyakumari District. CADRE-India repaired 211 houses with these trainees. Empowerment and self-sustainability of women in tsunami affected communities, in the construction field, was the main aim of this program. Ensure their economic stability, develop their self-reliance and self-confidence was another face of the training. We eradicated the stigma of women in the construction field by this training with an extent. And these trained ladies considered masonry work as a way to yield their daily bread. CADRE-India oriented 20 SHGs about the program in the Tsunami affected communities in Kanyakumary District. More than 300 members attended the program. 50 ladies expressed their interest to undergo the training. Technical and practical orientation took place for these 50 trainees during 20 days. Onsite training was given during four months in the Tsunami Repair and Renovation program. And we formed three SHGs with these ladies. Now through these SHGs they are finding their own job. Besides, we have given follow ups to these trainees in our own constructions and other building related activities which are conducted by the other NGOs.

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