Monday 16 January, 2012, New Delhi: “As this was the first most major cyclone after the tsunami in 2004 many of the children faced tremendous trauma from the memories of the tsunami itself.
This prompted us into quick action in terms of providing immediate psycho-social support to the children in the affected areas,” says Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid India. “We have also released INR 40 lakhs as relief to the coastal region of Tamil Nadu, India lashed by cyclone Thane late last month,” he adds.
The cyclone that claimed 48 lives and left thousands homeless, hit the shore on the morning of 30th December, 2011 and its impact was felt beyond 25 kms of the coastal belt, affecting the interior parts of Cuddalore and Pondicherry. The cyclone which crossed between Cuddalore and Pondicherry engulfed the regions with torrential rains with winds up to 140 kms per hour.
This led to the destruction of electric poles and uprooting of trees causing widespread damage to infrastructure. It is believed that around 2 lakh trees have been uprooted. Electricity and communication were affected in a big way which resulted in delay in assessments by the Government, though it has now been restored in most pockets.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 families were affected by the impact of Thane. People have either lost their houses, children have lost their school books. The families have also lost other items like clothes and other belongings.
The affected districts in Tamil Nadu are Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Villupuram, Tiruvallore, and the union territory of Pondicherry. The worst affected place is Cuddalore followed by Pondicherry and some of the areas in Nagapattinam which borders Chidambaram. ActionAid works in Cuddalore, Vilupuram and Nagapattinam districts of Tamilnadu and also in Pondicherry.
“We have taken into consideration specific needs of women and have worked out an appropriate rehabilitation package,” says Amar Jyoti Nayak, Regional Manager, Tamil Nadu. “We need to bear in mind the women, particularly single women, as women are not owners of the assets like boats and nets, for which the Government gives compensations,” he added.
In Cuddalore alone around 6,000 people are staying in 23 temporary shelters. It is estimated that it will take at last two months to rebuild the damaged houses. The loss of standing crops and fishery gears will take few months to restore to normalcy after adequate compensation is provided.
ActionAid India is planning to respond in the worst affected villages of Cuddalore, Vilupuram districts and Pondicherry targeting the most affected and vulnerable communities like dalits, fisher folk, women and children and the Irula (tribal) community.
We are reaching out to 1734 families and providing support like temporary shelter and repairing of houses, rations for Irula tribes who are often left out of government relief packages due to non-availability of identity proofs and education materials to the children in the areas affected.
The response work has already begun and the volunteers are in the field and providing psycho-social support to the children. Our volunteers are also supporting families register their claims of loss and access the Government compensation and relief.