Sunday, February 27, 2005









Closing the GENDER Gap


Executive Comittee

ACT India Partners

TBML College
















Update 6

Meeting the Challenges of Communities



The UELCI and its partners continue to be intensely engaged in its response to the Tsunami/earthquake disaster. It continues to take stock of the changing community and political realities, particularly in relation to the Gazetted Orders (GOs) and the policies for livelihood restoration and rehabilitation issues of the government. Several meetings have been taking place in which UELCI partners have participated. This interaction and dialoguing with communities gradually is setting the agenda of the future.


Relief operations:


The UELCI in partnership with the Slum Women’s Advancement Project (SWAP) and the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church has now completed the survey in identifying excluded and ignored villages in Nagapattinam. With the help of the local government officials a few villages were identified for continuing relief distribution. In this second phase of operations in Nagapattinam, 400 more families were covered. This time the relief kit included utensils, stoves, cooking vessels and blankets.


The Cuddalore operations are progressing with greater speed in comparison with other operations. The Collectorate at Cuddalore has now allotted specific villages for interventions. Likewise the constructions of 39 shelters in Tamanampettai, Chitirapettai, Nijalingapettai and Aiyampettai have been completed. On the request of the communities and the Collector, electrical wiring and the provision of lighting in the temporary shelters has also been completed. Currently the possibilities for the construction of toilets and for shallow bore wells are being studied. Work on the completion of two childrens’ parks is underway. Meanwhile the volunteers are interacting with the communities in discussing the processes and strategies for the livelihood restoration package.


The UELCI has now completed the construction of 50 temporary shelters at Chandrapadi. This was done in the Dalit village, as it was not addressed in the earlier operations by the government and other NGOs. The 50 families will also be provided with relief kit and the discussions on the alternate livelihood are being carried on. The distribution of school uniforms and school kits has now been completed. The 5 play schools are now operational. In Vellipalayam, Chandrapadi, Kannantheru, Kesavapalayam and Tranqubar.

On the request of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Mandal Revenue Officer of Nizampattnam, 500 more families have been identified for relief including addressing the issues of food security. Efforts are also underway in identifying the villages for construction of the multipurpose community centers, which will also serve as cyclone shelters.


A Community leaders meeting was held on the 31st of January at the UELCI office in which representatives from Palaya Nadukuppam, Perunthuravu Kuppam, Kannathur Angalamman Kuppam and Pudu Nadukuppam participated. Several issues were discussed and a strategy formulation was identified, according to which all the 4 villages after discussions at the Panchayat and community levels have now agreed to form themselves into teams of 10 families. These teams will receive a set of boat, nets and motor to start their livelihood. This has been submitted in writing and the community members identified this as a community capital, which will be utilized as a revolving resource. At the same meeting the date and the other details for the psycho social training of trainers programme was discussed, according to the which two groups consisting of 40 a group from this four villages will be trained before the end of this February.

Motor mechanic and a boat engineer have been deployed for damage assess hoods.

Srinivasapuram, Chennai.

Chennai is one of the most effected areas in Tamilnadu by Tsunami. It was recognized that more than 18 Kuppams were damaged at Chennai coast. UELCI staff visited the effected areas and conducted a survey to identify the effected families and the needy. The Relief Material was distributed to the 50 families. This relief package contained Dry ration, dress material and Utensils.

State Level Consultation

Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Coordination Committee (TRCC) for Tamilnadu and Pondicherry was organized a state level consultation on Civil society Partnership in Post Tsunami rehabilitation. Many NGO’s and government officials participated and expressed their opinions and interacted with each other. The UELCI also participated at this consultation. The TRRC was been formed in order to coordinate the different actors in the field and bring concerned people together in the field. This consultation was organized to involve and coordinate with civil society and Movements in Relief and Rehabilitation programmes. This consultation highlighted the responsibility of the communities, their choice and implementation regarding the rehabilitation programmes. NGO’s expressed their deep commitment to reconstruct Tamilnadu and restore the livelihood in the Tamilnadu. Representatives form the affected communities expressed their hopes, aspirations and rights, in the panel discussions. Mr. C.V Shankar IAS, who is on special duty and Mr. Santhanam, IAS Special Commissioner & Commissioner of Revenue Admn, represented the Tamilnadu Government. Mr. Santhanam appreciated the NGO’s on behalf of Tamilnadu Govt for which they have done in the field that relief and rehabilitation work. This consultation ended with a dynamic discussion between NGO’s and Govt officials. It helped NGO’s and Govt to understand the pulse of the civil society in regard to the rehabilitation work. Also it helped NGO’s to understand the position of the government regarding the rehabilitation programme.

AELC comes forward to shoulder the Tsunami relief efforts of ALC at Cuddalore

Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church is one of the member churches in UELCI. AELC has come forward to shoulder the Tsunami relief efforts doing by Arcot Lutheran church. AELC as a sister church in Lutheran family in India stood as a model and inspiration for others by contributing Rupees one lakh to the Arcot Lutheran church for the Tsunami relief efforts. Bishop Gideon Devanesan greatly appreciated the AELC delegation that had come to Cuddalore on 30th January 2005 to hand over the Rs.1, 00, 000 Cash to the Bishop on behalf of Andhra Evangelical Lutheran church. AELC delegation said that ‘Dec 26th Tsunami disaster left many children as orphans, left many families in miserable condition and took many lives. The AEL Church immediately responded to the needs of the effected communities’. Delegation also said that ‘Rev. Dr. Victor Moses, President AELC, initiated to collect the amount from the members to support Tsunami victims and also to support the efforts of our sister church in Tamilnadu’ which is doing great job in the Tsunami effected areas, and said ‘we were able to collect Rupees Two lakhs and decided to give Rupees one lakh to the ALC and the rest to the Church in Andaman. The Bishop said that this is first time ever that church has come forward with such an unprecedented response towards relief efforts. Bishop Gideon expressed his deep gratitude to the AELC for the concern they have showed and for supporting the Arcot Lutheran Church efforts.

Medical and Psychosocial Relief Services

The Bishop Peter Teachers Training Institute, Devanampattinam, Cuddalore has been converted into a mini Hospital with the team of 30 members (Inclusive of Medical Personals, Paramedics, Community health specialists). Nearly 4500 patients have been treated at the camp till date. On an average 170-180 patients are provided out patient services and early 85 patients have been admitted in the make-shift Hospital till 23rd January.

On 12th & 13th January a screening camp was conducted at Rojapettai, 262 adults and 109 school children were screened. Adults were suffering from URL, LRI, APD, Eye Problems, Musculoskeletal problems etc. Screening of children showed that nutritional deficiencies, Vitamin A deficiency, Iron deficiency and helminthiasis are fairly common. The team has adopted Rasapettai,Devanampattinam, Akkaraigori, Sonakuppam, Singarathoppu, for school screening and will provide, micronutrient screening, Health education, Nutritional supplementation, and attend Eye Problems over a period of 4 weeks. With a total population of 19886 in the above villages, 2000 patients (1000 adults and 1000 children) will be provided the above screening and the required medical aid.

The psychological trauma is becoming to be more serious than ever imagined. The fear of the sea is preventing many from venturing into sea. Children have not yet adapted to the new situation created by tsunami. The psychological Faculty of the Lutheran university has evolved a strategy but modified it with the realization of the enormity of the situation, to creating community counselors.

Government officials have been visiting the camp regularly to provide support to the team’s work and encourage the volunteers. Mr. Venkatapathy, Central Minister for Law had visited the site in January along with Dr. S. Narayanaswamy RMO, Government Hospital, Cuddalore , and appreciated the work being done. The joint Director of Medical Services for the state of Tamilnadu spent half a day at the camp on 25th January and also had visitors from Evangelical Lutheran church of America, Lutheran World Relief, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, and CBM International. Arcot Lutheran church supported the work by permitting to use of their property and the Pastors.

Andaman and Nicobar

The Moderators of the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church under took a visit to Andaman and Nicobar islands. They visited the affected communities including the congregations. Through their reports they have appealed to the UELCI to initiate operations at Andaman and Nicobar. This is being discussed and options explored. The immediate issues in Andaman & Nicobar continue to be relief, food security and livelihood and rehabilitation. As they expect the monsoons soon, the challenges in Andaman and Nicobar continue to be pressing.

‘Social Engineering to build a new community”

The UELCI and its implementing partners are organizing a one-day consultation to discuss social engineering instruments and methods in building a new community from the Tsunami disaster. This Consultation will bring together several operational NGOs, Collectives, Fisherfolk Forum, church leaders and community representatives to share information and challenges of social integration into the aim and methods of relief rehabilitation. This will also be used as an opportunity to develop new and fresh methodologies in relief operations. This consultation will take place on Monday the 21st Feb. 2005 at the Gurukul campus. This Consultation is jointly convened by UELCI and Gurukul.

Rev. Chandran Paul Martin
Executive Secretary
Date: 8-2-2005

Update 5





The Tsunami relief operations of the UELCI and its implementing partners are progressing effectively. Several villages, communities and families have been covered by relief operations. Relief operations included distribution of relief materials, psychosocial counseling and medical assistance. In several areas our operations are gradually transiting into post-relief. This includes erection of temporary shelters, organizing communities into action and training community volunteers, teachers and government officials in psycho-social counseling.


About 800 families have been covered in the relief face: Thamanampettai, Chitirapettai, Nijalingapettai and Aiyampettai.

The transition in Cuddalore operations from relief to temporary shelters was quick and smooth. After the NGOs coordination meeting convened by the Collector, UELCI were asked to construct 39 shelters. (Thamanampettai –3 numbers, Chitirapettai – 29 numbers, Nijalingapettai – 3 numbers and Aiyampettai – 4 numbers.

The Collector of Cuddalore Sri Sugandeep Singh Bedi, IAS, Shri Shanmugam, Minister for Education, Government of Tamilnadu, Shri Sampath, MLA, Nellikuppam and other Government officials personally visited and inspected our shelters. Families have already moved in to the shelters.

At another NGO Coordination Committee meeting convened by the Collector at Cuddalore on the 22nd of January the UELCI and other operating NGOs have been requested by the Collector to provide a toilet, shallow water bore pump and electrical wiring including a bulb in the temporary shelters. This work is now in progress. At the same meeting the UELCI has been allotted two villages namely, Nijalingapettai and Nayakarpettai to address the issues of housing. According to the new GO of the Government (G.O.Ms.No.25 dated 13.1.2005 on the Tsunami Relief) the estimate for the total construction of the village has been set at Rs.75 lakhs which includes houses, common infrastructure consisting of roads, water supply etc., and livelihood rehabilitation. The government also assured that it would provide land. The GO also says that it will provide the design and the style of the houses with the specification that they should be earthquake and cyclone resistant.

The project cost for rehabilitation of different sizes as identified in the Annexure II of the same GO is as follows:

For 50 families Rupees 75 lakhs
For 100 families Rupees 150 Lakhs
For 200 Families Rupees 300 lakhs
For 500 families Rupees 750 Lakhs
For 1000 families Rupees 1500 lakhs

Rev. Chandran Paul Martin, Executive Secretary, UELCI attended the meeting with other Cuddalore operational unit volunteers along with the Bishop Gideon Devanesan, World Service delegation including Mr. Bob Granke, Director Lutheran World Service, Geneva, Mr. Howard Jost, Director, LWS, Calcutta, Mr. Mathai Kutty, Head, LWS (I) Emergency Officer, Calcutta. Mr. Bob Granke and Mr.Howard Jost visited several operations of the UELCI and LWS. As of now UELCI will be engaged in livelihood and rehabilitation issues at Cuddalore for more than 200 families.


The UELCI after its methodology of study and identification of the needs covered 1000 families with the distribution of relief kits, which included a suitcase, pump stove, plates, tumblers, ladles and cooking utensils. These were done at Maraimalainagar, Keeraikollai Street, Pogainllur, Nambiarnagar and Keechankuppam. The distribution in Nagapattinam was entirely done by the volunteers by the TELC/TBML College, Porayar under the leadership of Mr. Julius Vijayakumar and the local pastor supported by Mr.Ravi and Mr. Marianandan. In the distribution process the communities have identified a few more neglected villages and this is being done currently. The District Collector, through a circular dated 6.1.2005 addressed to the UELCI, allotted all the villages in Nagapattinam and Tranquebar to the UELCI. (For a detailed story kindly scroll to the bottom of the page


The Tranquebar operations were carried out through the able and logistical support of the TELC/SEDP and Tranquebar Spiritual Centre. Relief distributions were carried out at Vellipalayam, Kesavapalayam, Kannan Theru, Athankarai, Valluvar Colony, Vadaku Colony,Vellipalayam Mela Theru, Tranquebar Samayam Theru, Pillai Colony, Muslim Theru, Raja Theru, Masilanatharkoil street, Kavalamettu Theru and Tranquebar Meenavar Kuppam. More than 2000 families have been covered so far.

In order to focus on the children’s need a meeting was held with the Headmasters of the Government High School and the Primary School at Chandrapadi. At this meeting the teachers and the heads of the Institutions passionately identified the immediate need for the distribution of notebooks, stationery, school bags and uniforms for all the 530 students. This was carried out and the entire Government High School students have been covered in this distribution including the students at Pluetcheu School, the Manikapangu and Manigramam schools. Information coming in from Chandrapadi states that, the attendance in the school has dramatically improved with this initiative. Five playschools have been set up at Velliapalayam, Chandrapadi, Kannan Theru and Kesavapalaym with local youth as volunteers, who are engaging the children and the adolescent through indoor and outdoor games. These camps will be visited by our psychosocial team to carry out counseling sessions. Rev.Chandran Paul Martin, Rev.George Samuel, Rev.Christian Samraj, the local pastor, Mr.P.Rajkumar and several others participated in the work.

The Challenges of the Dalits

While interacting with several NGOs and Dalit communities it has come to the attention of the UELCI that neglect and discrimination. While addressing this issue the UELCI team visited a Dalit village and interacted with the Dalit community leaders. It should be observed that even though the temporary shelter programme was already underway on the 10th of January the Dalit community until today was not provided the temporary shelters. The UELCI has now embarked upon the construction o 50 temporary shelters in the Dalit village after interacting with the Panchayat leaders of the villages. Let us tot his extent have also been receive. The community will carry out this activity themselves and wages for work will be provided. Mr.P.Rajkumar,Coordinator, Tranquebar/Nagapattinam operations has also been interacting with the Dalit communities on the livelihood issues. The dalits in this particular village are landless laborers and therefore have been seriously affected.

The women’s team from the Slum Women’s Advanced Project, UELCI will be visiting this village to build awareness, capacities and to train the Dalit communities by the formation of Self Help Groups to be introduced through the micro credit programmes. The UELCI has set-up an operational coordination office at Tranquebar at the TELC Tranquebar Spiritual Centre premises.


The Kanchipuram operations have been carried out with the assistance of the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Churh, Sadras Pastorate and a Chennai based women’s organisation. The distribution of articles have taken place in the following areas: Sadras, Meiyurkuppam, Oialikuppam, Kannathur and Naddu Kuppam. The congregation members with the assistance of the local NGO and the panchayat conducted the survey. Volunteers form the communities; graduates and post-graduates were roped in for the mammoth task. The whole area has now been surveyed and mapped. The communities continue to interact with the UELCI through one volunteer who is now placed at the UELCI Chennai head office. More than 850 families have been covered and most of the articles were personalized according to the needs as identified by the communities.


The UELCI Andhra operations have been carried out through the support and organizing of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church Development Desk and other community organizations. Relief materials were distributed at Nizampatnam, Ramnagar and Adarshnagar. About 750 families were covered. The MROs of Nizampatnam and Bapatla participated in the distribution and endorsed the distribution certificate. Rev. Victor Moses, President of AELC and other church officials participated. For a detailed report kindly scroll down to the bottom of the page


The Medical relief camp started on the 7th of January with the medical and paramedical teams form the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Lutheran Joseph’s Eye Hospital, Tiruchirapalli and the Lutheran Bethesda Hospital have been effectively rendering preventive and curative service to nearly 2000 persons. The camp at the Arcot Lutheran Church’s Bishop Peter Training College, Devanampattinam, Cuddalore continues to be popular with the people. The Government has now requested the services of the NLHMB for training of their personnel and teachers in psychosocial counseling. The Government hospital continues to provide the investigation services for the patients. The Government has also requested our community health tea to reach out to provide the health surveillance and screening of people in 10 villages. Screening has already been done in 6 villages so far. The Government has also sent directions to their staff working in the health and educations departments in the coastal region to undergo training in psychosocial counseling to be organized by our team. It is estimated that at least 100 teachers and health workers will be covered in the next fortnight. Dr.K.M.Shyam Prasad coordinates this operation.

The NLHMB is to launch a new website to inform and educate on the intricacies and nuances on psychosocial counseling and trauma care. You may visit (under construction) for more details.


The UELCI communion has participated in the response with commitment and passion. The earlier update mentioned of the actions of the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church, which offered a special Jubilee collection for the operations. One of the Development projects of the same church has also contributed to the efforts. The staff of the project has all contributed a days’ salary to the relief work.

The Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is the largest in the Communion, through a special drive has collected over one lakh rupees and t has decided to offer this to the work of the Arcot Lutheran Church. A delegation form the AELC is to visit the ALC this Sunday to participate in the Sunday Service and to pass on the Demand Draft to the Bishop Gideon Devanesan.

Bishop L.G.Rao, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh and President of the UELCI has informed that the several congregations have raised donations and have contributed to the relief work through the State Governments Relief fund.


We are currently addressing the issues of land ownership, ownership of the houses, forming smaller family groups in village communities for joint ownership of boats, interacting with government and NGO office processes to address several challenges which include gender issues, issues of artisans and carpenters, challenges of motor mechanics and the burning challenges of the Dalit communities.


The ELIC and all its implementing partners have received tremendous support from our partners and member churches. Several bilateral initiatives have also been implemented.

§ The Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) led a team headed by its Director Ms Ruth Jensen visited our operational village in Cuddalore and participated at the distribution.
§ The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sent a team of 12 high powered church officials, journalists and programme Directors led by Rev. Dr.Rafael Malpica Padilla including officials from Lutheran World Relief. They toured the entire stretch from Chennai to Nagapattinam and Tranquebar. They visited the UELCI, LWS (I), CASA and the NLHMB operations. A detailed news story is available on

§ The National Council of Churches in India convened a meeting at Chennai inviting all its member churches, related agencies, Christian organizations and the Tamilnadu Regional Council for an overview of the churches response to the Tsunami tidal wave disaster. The Rt.Rev.Dr. Sahu, the new General Secretary of the NCCI presided over. It was decided at this meeting that greater coordination, effective information sharing be carried out by its members. The special appeal for response in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was also identified at this meeting.
§ The representatives of the UELCI operations will also participate in the Tamilnadu NGO Coordination meeting at Chennai on the 26th of January. Several leading personalities will participate in the panel discussions to highlight the critical areas and challenges of the communities in response to the latest GO as passed by the State Government.
§ Efforts are under way to launch a collective proposal to empower Tsunami affected people in costal areas in Tamilnadu by developing people based vigilant communities, equipping panchayat and community leaders in relief and rehabilitation management and equipping people in crisis management.


To coordinate its relief and rehabilitation intervention for tsunami victims of South India, Lutheran World Service – India has set up its office at the Bishop Peter’s Teachers’ Training Institute at Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, through the good offices of Bishop Gideon of the Arcot Lutheran Church and the leadership of UELCI.

Movement of staff and vehicles from Assam, West Bengal and Orissa has been completed. With the help of UELCI and the Lutheran bishops we are identifying and hiring local people who have the necessary language skills which most of our staff from the North do not have.

So far, LWSI has been assigned 4 villages in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, and 4 villages in Pondicherry. With the primary data provided by the district administration, we moved into the villages and conducted door-to-door surveys of affected families, issuing eligibility-cum-identity cards for receiving relief supplies from LWSI. Specific relief items were mentioned on the cards. Simultaneously procurement of supplies was also done.

On 19 January, LWSI completed its relief distribution in the 4 villages in Cuddalore district. By 26 January 2005, relief distribution will be completed in 4 villages in Pondicherry. Total families assisted is 2,731. Only cooking utensils remain to be distributed. The local market supply is totally exhausted and the items are being brought from outside the state. Our suppliers are doing their best and we expect to complete this distribution by the end of the week.

Relief items distributed are family kits (containing clothes for adults and children and 2 bed covers), steel utensils (9 items), kerosene stoves, lanterns, family sanitation kits (containing bathing soap, detergent bar, soap for cleaning utensils, pitcher, bucket, mug, coconut oil, tooth powder and towel) and student kits (containing 8 exercise books, 1 packet pencils with sharpener and eraser, a wooden scale and geometry box).

On January 21 and 22 LWSI Country Director, Howard Jost and LWF Director for World Service, Bob Granke toured the devastated villages, met with the bishop, the district administrative head, and participated in the distribution of relief articles. They also took part in coordination meetings organised by UELCI for visitors from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and by the NCCI (National Council of Churches in India) that included participation by CNI (Church of North India), CSI (Church of South India), CASA and UELCI.
Government and other NGOs have provided temporary shelters in the allotted villages for the fully destroyed households. So LWSI will not go for temporary housing. Instead, we may help them to carry out required repairs to their damaged houses.

LWSI is ready to begin work on provision of permanent housing but the Government is saying that this activity should be delayed. Firstly, the design of the house is not yet agreed upon. Secondly, the government hasn’t yet decided where the houses should be placed. They might allow rebuilding in the original locations but have expressed a preference for land which is more that 500 meters from the coast. They might even decide that everyone (even those whose houses were not affected) has to move more than 500m away from the coast. Such a decision would involve a massive relocation.

Since the affected people have now got temporary shelter and replenishment of their damaged household goods, the current priority is restoration of livelihood. Most of those devastated in India belong to the fishing community and have no way of earning a living since their boats, nets and engines have been destroyed. Therefore LWSI is giving top priority to procurement of fibreglass boats, engines and nets. Engines and nets are available from existing stocks but the boats are handcrafted in small workshops all along the coast. We expect there to be some delay while these shops expand their capacity to meet the demand.

While the procurement is being arranged LWSI staff are discussing with the fishing communities how ownership of the new boats would be shared.

Traditionally, the fishing boats have crews of 5-10 men. In some cases, they are hired by absentee boat owners. Our aim will be to make the boats available to the fishermen who will work cooperatively. Since boats, engines and nets are very expensive, they will not be given to individuals.

The fishermen are quite well organised and have the means to express their opinion to the government about how relief and rehabilitation is being implemented. Meetings of the affected people are being organised by various organizations to collect their opinions and exchange views. LWSI staff are participating to keep in touch with the changing situation.

We are keeping in close touch with government officials and sharing information with them. We have been assured that they will assign additional villages to us in the next few days. There is also the possibility that the performance of some other NGOs might not come up to the mark and we might be allocated those villages. So we don’t yet know the full size of our programme.

LWSI is revising its appeal budget to reflect the situation as we now see it.


Rev. Chandran Paul Martin, Executive Secretary, UELCI 25TH JAN 2005.


19.01.05 – Cuddalore Coast

The team visited Akkara Gori, Singarathoppu, Komara Pettai, Samiyar Kuppam,Pudu Kuppam, Chinnoor, Ponnam Thitu, Luzuku Thurai and MGR Thitu villages in Cuddalore area. Mr Ezumalai local Fisherfolk movement leader, Mr Dinesh, from Sinagarathoppu, Mr Sathish Samuel from KNH, Mr Santhosh Patnaik from ODAF, Orissa and William Stanley.

Akkara Gori - 575 families live in this village. 200 families are affected directly by tsunami, 7 deaths were reported. Government paid cash assistance Rs. 4000/-, 2000/- and 10000/- to the families.

Sinagarathoppu - Nearly 1000 families live in this village. More than 300 families are affected and 19 deaths are reported.

MGR Thitu - 176 families lived in this village and all of them are affected, all the houses are damaged and they have lost everything. 83 deaths were reported and out of them 40% were children. The village is very close to the shore. One has to travel by boat to reach this village.

All the villages were told by the Government that they will be relocated to safer places.

While returning from the area the team met Rt Rev Gideon, Bishop of ALC at Cuddalore and shared with him the plans of IRDWSI and later visited the UELCI office at Cuddalore. On the way to Chennai, at Pondicherry we met Mr Krishnan working with Adivasis and Mr Ramesh working with Dalits. We all shared the area of work and the type of assistance being planned.

20.01.05 –Pulicat Coast - Mr Sathish Samuel and William Stanley visited Pulicat area and had meetings with the village representatives both women and men. Briefly we also met a Psycho social team that was visiting the Pulicat villages. The team visited Goonamkuppam, Thirumalai Nagar, Sempasipalli and Light House Kuppam. Food assistance for 10 days were planned.

21.01.05 - IRDWSI organised a meeting with all the partners of tsunami relief and rehabilitation. This meeting was called to discuss on the budget, programmes, implementation, reporting and finance management. Mr Felix Madiath, Finance consultant of IRDWSI shared with all the Participants the required financial systems to be followed by all the partners. Mr Sathish Samuel, KNH representative shared about KNH’s policy and the approach to the present tsunami affected communities and asked the partners to focus on children, women and other vulnerable people in the communities. Mr Stanley shared about the activities carried out under ACT/UELCI and the planned programmes. Mr Santhosh Patnaik, ODAF was requested to record the meeting proceedings. The meeting was organsied at CReNIEO office, Chennai.


Mr William Stanley met the FIMCTNP representatives along with Ms Belinda, Christian Aid very briefly and shared the cooperation between the fisher movements and IRDWSI/ODAF. He also met Mr Chako of OXFAM, India and Mr Thomas Mathew of Spain OXFAM.

Kanyakumari Coast - The team comprising Dr Sreedhar, Mountain Environics, Mr Prem from CReNIEO and William Stanley met Mr Peter Das and Mr Lincoln representative from Fisher workers Union from Kanyakumari district at Nagarkoil. The team travelled to the following villages:

1. Arokyapuram, 2.Keezmana Kudi (38 deaths and 16 missing), 3. Mel Manakudi (105 deaths), 4. Mela thurai (68 death and 3 missing), 5. Muttam, 6. Kadiapattinam, 7. Pudur, 8. Kotilpadi and 9. Colachel (more than 400 deaths).

At Keezmana Kudi the team met the local catholic priest and shared about the planned programmes. In Kotil padu, the District Collector was visiting the village. Meeting with local leaders, activists and academicians and Dr. Wareethiya and Mr Suresh Dharma also joined the meeting. Main discussions were around:

Educational support – finance, coaching, psycho social accompaniment and tutorials to class X and +2 students so they cannot appear the final exams and enable them to go for higher education.
GIS package – Research and documentation on Tsunami, use of satellite pictures for relocating settlements and habitats, understand sea surge levels during high tides, erosion of sea bed, change in the ocean ecology. To contact NRSA and other institutes. This will help for public advocacy.
The fisherman in the Kanyakumari coast are used to GPS and Garmin eco sounders and other sophisticated equipments for deep fishing and they need assistance.
Explore alternative employment opportunities for fishing communities
Focus on children and women needs.
Issues related to land and temporary shelter had to be taken up.
The team expressed the need of sea protection stone walls for each villages as it was already constructed in few villages.
To approach Kerala Government to buy the special wood for boat making from the forest department
Non-fisherfolk have encroached the lands on the sea shore within the CRZ regulation – with in 500 meteres from the seashore.

On 23.01.05 the team also visited the sand mining areas in Kanaya kumari district covering Midalam areas. These areas are vulnerable to sea surges and even during high tides. It was told all the sand mining leases along the coasts have to be cancelled.

The Catholic Church in all the villages are very strong and the priest is in total control of the communities. SCAD, EFFICOR, Action Aid and other NGOs were also working in the areas visited. At present we will focus the work in Keezmanakudi, Mel mana kudi, Melathurai, Kotil Padu and Colachel.

On 24. 01.05. - The ACT coordinator, William Stanley also met Dr Sheila Benjamin and Dr Bennet Benjamin from SCINDeA for possible collective activities near Marakanam Coast.

The Team along with Mr Kosu Mani, Bharathi and Mr Maran visited Sreenivasapuram
(Pattinapakkam village) in Chennai. This was in habited by both fishing and non fishing communities. Nearly 700 fisherfolk families live and the rest around 1500 families are non fishing families. Around 1000 houses on the shore completely washed away and the people have lost all of their belongings, boats and nets and 80 people dead. The government had built temporary shelters far away from the present habitat and the fishing communities are not willing to go to the far away place. They want to be relocated near to the shore only.

Other Observations:

Most of the fishing communities are not willing to be relocated elsewhere and they wanted to be rehabilitated in the same location and to be provided with necessary safeguards and protection except for few families and villages.
Fishermen have given their demands to the governments they want the demands had to be fulfilled by the governments (already reported)
Since 26th December 2004 none of the fisher families have dared to go for fishing, most of them do not have fishing gears have they lost to Tsunami and all of them have fear of the sea.
Food is going to be a big crisis in the future, in some villages the food is in surplus (rice, dhal etc) and in many villages there is already food shortage.
Almost a month the fishing families have tasted fish in their daily menu. Most of them are lacking proper nutrition.
Non fishing families dependent of fishing families (small vendors, traders, labourers belonging to lower castes and Dalits) are also equally facing the brunt of tsunami and their livelihood is at stake.
A small number of families have migrated in search of livelihood to nearby towns and many out of fear of the sea surge.
There has been discrimination during relief to non fishing communities, some times even drinking water is denied. The fisherfolk have generally a feeling that all the relief and rehabilitation should address their problems only. Attempts are made to make aware all the affected communities have to work hand in hand and get away with caste,politics and religious feelings that would deprive any one of these communities.
Land and housing rights are crucial, in many cases even the fisherfolk are relocated away from the sea shore beyond 500 meters from the sea shore, they would like to keep control over the earlier habitats which is closer to the shore as their landing parks.
There has been inadequate or complete non participation of the womenfolk.
Children and youth do not participate in the decision making structures.
In many villages the people have lost all their utensils, equipments, machineries, cash, gold and other belongings.
Rehabilitation and resettlement is going to be a major task and involving lot of resources, unless and until community participation is ensured and enlisted the vested interested are going to take control over the lives of the tsunami affected communities.
Many of them expressed for alternative employment opportunities
Relief assistance has not taken into account the needs of women clothing, inner-wares, sanitary kits, proper food assistances, lack of cash in the hands of women.
In all the cases the compensation was paid to the fisherfolk and non fisherfolk men and the cash found its place to liquor shops and gambling.
Fisherfolk communities in general represent the high caste negative value systems and therefore less concern in benefit sharing to other communities such as Dalits and Adivasis.
There is lack of coordination at the village level. So many organisations, individuals visit the villages and distribute many things to the people. Seldom the civil society actors going to the same villages to do relief lack coordination among themselves.
The Government while inviting private public partnership in the rehabilitation and resettlement they have ignored the participation of fisherfolk movements and forums.
In some villages fisherfolk have expressed the need of fishing gears to be supplied urgently so that they can go for fishing. They all refuse food assistance and say that not to make them lazy but provide instruments for fishing.

The IRDWSI along with the partners have approached for rehabilitation activities to KNH and NMZ. For this purpose separate villages will be selected or programmes for a combined approach in same villages for relief and rehabilitation depending on the funds availability from ACT/UELCI, KNH, and NMZ. All activities are planned with the tsunami affected communities – Fisherfolk, Adivasis and Dalits. A separate plan of action and progress will be reported in the next update No. 5 by 31st of January 2005.

William Stanley
24 January 2005

Tsunami relief operation in nagapattionam

“ In was heartening to visit the tsunami ravaged villages – Akkaraipettai, Keechankuppam, Nambur nagar, Maraimalai Nagar, Keeraikollai street, & Pogainallur in Nagapattinam district” said the UELCI team consisting of Vidhya Rani, Gerson, Idan Topno & Mani. Of all the coastal areas affected, Nagapattinam district is worst effected by tsunami, where around 2, 00, 000 people have lost their livelihood and more than 6,000 deaths are reported. The number of women died in the natural disaster is more than in number than men and the people said it’s only because of “Fear”. Without any sign or warning more than 300 villages were devoured before any one could make out what was going on! The fury tidal wave washed ashore the huge boats to almost 10 km from the shore, causing heavy damage, some of which are beyond repair. A 70 years old man said it’s something he had never seen in his life time. Nagapattinam district alone accounted around 150 tsunami orphaned children. One of the statistics said almost 60,000 fishermen are affected by their ‘ferocious mother’. One young fisherman said “Waves have gone , but our woes have begun!” He said with shaky voice due to uncertainties for future that it will take at least 6 more months for restoration. Even after a week after the tragedy hundreds of highly decomposed bodies were recovered under debris in Akkaraipettai. Almost all houses of coastal villages are washed off. And those withstood are beyond renovation. In most of the places people said that they ‘forgot sleep’ and keep vigil throughout the nights for the fear of ‘TUSNAMI AGAIN’. There were no words to console the people who lost their beloved ones. People, particularly women & children were thoroughly depressed and were even refusing to eat in the relief camps. ‘God alone can heal their Deep Wounds.

!4 year old Kala was crying in the camp and when approached she said that she saw her father being washed off along with his nets, which he was repairing and her mother is reported to be missing after leaving the child on a wooden plank. “I fear the very word water and I can‘t see the sea any more” says Kala.

A young man in twenties said “We were all busy in the market place and ignored the first wave, which was quite unusual though. The second wave of almost 10 to 12 meters height which was beyond our imagination did not spare us. I witnessed and felt helpless when hundreds of people were driven by the ferocious Tidal wave. The Giant wave threw me on tall coconut tree thus I escaped death surviving with head injuries.

After the interaction with the people to find their requirement of relief materials, a package consisting of the fallowing items were procured and distributed to 169 families in Maraimalai nagar, 200 families in Keeraikollaistreet, 110 families in Pogainullur, 289 families in Nambiarnagar, & 232 families in Keechankuppam.

Pump stove
2 plates
2 Tumblers
3 Ladles
Cooking utensils with lid one for rice & one for curry.

Thus totally 1000 famalies in Nagapattinam were given relief material during the crisis phase. The distribution took place in TELC church in Nagapattinam with the help of local volunteers, students of TBML College, Poraiyar, under the leadership of Mr.Julius Vijayakumar and the SWAP staff, Mr. Ravi & Mr. Marianandan. In general the things distributed were well received and much appreciation for the good quality. We would like to place on record our gratitude to Mr. Julius Vijayakumar, Lecturer, TBML college, poraiyar for his great support , and untiring efforts to help the people in Need. Our good whishes for his ministry and the team feels happy for the God given opportunity to serve the people in Great distress.

Vidhya Rani

Report of the Tsunami Relief Operation in Andhra Pradesh

In association with AELC this tsunami relief program was organized by UELCI. This tsunami relief operation mainly focused in Guntur district as this was one of the effected areas. We have visited several nearby villages to Baptla and Chirala towns to identify effected families and the needs of the people and the victims.


Bapatla mandalam is in Guntur dist. It is one of the towns in Guntur dist which is at coastal area; it is located at south eastern part of INDIA. Here in Bapatla many of the communities are depended on fishing directly or indirectly. Most of the communities which live at sea shore are fishermen communities and totally depended on fishing business. On 26th December 2004 the tsunami tidal waves hit the coastel villages but luckily there were no deaths were reported in this area since these communities live little far from the shore, and very near villages like surya lanka and Ratna puri was bit affected but no house damages. But the fishermen lost their nets and some of the boats were damaged. All the fishermen at this area live at Ramnagar and Adarsanagar which is 1.5km far from the sea shore.


Chirala mandalam is in Prakasam dist. This is also one the most effected area in AP state. Initially we have visited some of the places nearby villages to Chirala like Wadarevu, Veta palem, Potti subayyapalem and Kattari vanipalem. In these villages Potti subbayyapalem is most affected one this village lost 10 people including some women and children. This village is in deep shock; Govt is trying to do all rehabilitation for the victims in this village and also planned for housing project in partnership with ASSIST India (NGO). Wadarevu is very next to sea shore but the shore is very far to the place where people live. More than 1000 families live here in this village; all families belong to fishermen community only. Here also their boats were damaged because of tsunami and some of them lost their nets.


Nizampatnam mandalam is in Guntur dist. This is the place where number of fishermen is living as it is having a small port called nizampatnam harbor. Here many of the fishermen they are having ferryboats to transport the people to cross the small canals. As we have reached that place already six voluntary organizations are distributing the relief material at nizampatnam harbor. In Nizampatnam nearly 4400 families got the rice from the Govt and 10,240 were sheltered in the relief camp which was organized by govt. We have visited many of the villages nearby like Military colony, Nizampatnam port and Kothapalem (mala palli madiga palli). We have identified one fishermen community at this harbor which is not benefited by any relief operation except the ration which provided by the Govt. We have identified nearly 61 families in locality where two communities are living together. One is fishermen community and the other is Dalit community which does the business of dry fish other dry fish food and helping the fishermen in the transportation etc. so this community is totally depended on fishermen community.

Relief operation
After Tsunami immediately the Govt released 25kg of rice to the each effected family and the relief camps were also organized in some places. There number of NGO’s working in this relief work to help the victims in rehabilitation work. Almost all the NGO’s like CASA, ASSIST, CONSIDER and AELC covered all the villages which are effected by this Tsunami. Also the NGO’s are in good coordination with each other and shared the effected villages for the relief operation. We had a meeting with CASA and CONSIDER staff and also with local MRO and they suggested us to cover two villages which are not yet covered by any organization. According to the suggestion from the MRO we have visited the villages and collected all the details of the families who live in these villages. We had a meeting with the village elders and involved them as well in preparing the family cards.

Village elders from Ramnagar
P. Raghupathi Rao
S. Nageswara Rao
Village elders from Adarsanagar
K.Krishna Murthi

We have identified 267 families in Ramnagar and 252 families in Adarsanagar. All these families lost their livelihood, as govt warned them to not to go for fishing and also the fishermen are afraid to go for fishing, so from the last few weeks there is no proper income and even if some of the fishermen go for fishing but they could not sell because of the roomers that some virus is spreading and fish food is not good for health in this time, all this lead to depression and fishermen are facing lot of stress to lead their daily life. But still they have lot of hope on their business that some time it will move up again

According to the situation and the assessment done by our team we thought it would be proper to give some dry ration to the families who are affected and lost their livelihood. Initially we decided to give some provisions like dal, Tamarind, Chillipowder, oil, Blanket and towel except rice because the Govt announced that they are releasing another 50kg of rice to the effected families, but it is still in the process and it will defiantly take another 2 or 3 weeks and so we thought it would be good to give along with rice along with other provisions.

Distribution at Nizampatnam:
Covered families 61
Support beneficiary 206
Profession Fishing and dry fish food processing
Panchayet Military colony
Attended officials Mr. Uday Bhaskar, MRO Nizampatnam

(This was covered by the news papers VAARTHA, EENADU on 14-01-2005 in Guntur edition)

Distribution at Ramnagar:
Covered Families 267
Profession Fishing
Panchayet Adavi
Attended officials Mr.Venkaiah MRO, Bapatla
Rev. Dr. Ch. Victor Moses, President AELC
Mr. Navaneetha Raju Director, Projects AELC

Distribution at Adarsanagar:
Covered families 252
Profession Fishing
Panchayet Adavi
Attended officials Mr. Venkaiah MRO, Bapatla
Rev. Dr. Ch. Victor Moses, President AELC
Mr. Navaneetha Raju, Director, Projects AELC

We have purchased all the material at bapatla only, packed and transported to the places one day before and handed over to the village elders and they have took the responsibility of taking care of the material. Villagers helped us in unloading the material from the lorry and carried to the places where the storage was planned. In ramnagar it was a small elementary school and at adarsanagar in the office of the ministry of fisheries development, bapatla. As we have already took permission from the officer Ms.Usha Rani.

First we have planned to distribute at ramanagar and adarsanagar but suddenly president got some urgent programme and had to change the programme to the next day so we have started distribution at nizampatnam first in the presence of local MRO. During our distribution news reporters from vaartha and eenadu came and covered the news and was published on 14th January 2005 in guntur edition. We took the signatures or thumb impression of all the people who have got the material. We have finished our distribution evening at 5 ‘O’ clock and got the MRO signature at the end of the distribution. And also we have reported back to the Mr. Navaneetha Raju as he could not attend for the distribution. We returned to Guntur that day and we reached Guntur at 11pm. Next day morning we fixed an appointment with Rev .Victor Moses, president AELC and with the MRO for the distribution of the material. Me and Mr. Shalem along with Mr. Navaneetha raju went to Rev. Victor Moses and went together to the bapatla to the Ram nagar and started the distribution at Ramnagar first at 9 am by Rev Victor Moses.

The village elders helped us in the distribution programme. We have handed over the program to the village elders in our presence they distributed all the material according to the list we prepared. At 11am we have started the other distribution centre at Adarsanagar and organized distribution at these two places at same time. at Adarsanagar also villagers took the responsibility and organized the distribution of the material in the presence of Rev. Victor Moses, Mr. Navaneetha Raju and Mr. Venkaiah, MRO, Bapatla. MRO visited the two places during the distribution and appreciated the work of UELCI. After the distribution we took his signature and the acknowledgement for the distribution as well. We have sent news with one photograph of the distribution to all the local news papers in the evening.

During our visits to the villages almost at all places Dalits complained that Dalits were neglected in the relief operation and they were totally neglected and ignored their (Dalits) plight. At some places the frustrated villagers even stopped some of the vehicles which carrying the relief material to the fisher community. And we saw in some villages they kept banner saying that ‘this is also tsunami affected area please help’. Many dalits complained that fisher community is selling the material back in the market since many of the organizations distributed same kind of material at one place. There is no proper coordination between some NGO,s . if something comes in the news paper like for example if news paper says in surya Lanka people are still waiting for the help for ration , very next day 4 or 5 NGO,s are distributing the material in that place without knowing each other.

However we completed the relief operation with full satisfaction and provided support to the communities which are affected. During my work at bapatla Mr. Milton sastry who is heading an NGO called CONSIDER helped me a lot in the relief operation to use his office and Mr. Shalem who is a student of Gurukul helped me a lot during my work there; he took care of my accommodation and helped me in survey and distribution. As a local person he was so helpful. Total benefited families with our tsunami relief operation in Andhra Pradesh are 580 including Nizampatnam ,Ramnagar and Adarsanagar.

Mrinal Srikanth Lankapalli
Andhra Pradesh Tsunami Relief Operation


News Update-2, January 20, 2005

The Arcot Lutheran Church has resolved in all its competent committees to give top priority to Tsunami relief and rehabilitation services. Hence the relief operations that were geared up by ALC on the day of the tsunami hit continue with the same spirit unlike many other organizations.

On December 26, 2004, when the tsunami hit the shores of Bay of Bengal, people ran for their life out of Cuddalore. As the congregation came out after the Sunday worship at Nellikuppam (the town which is situated 10 km away from north of Cuddalore), they were shocked to see people came running from the shores as if the waves are chasing them. Instantly the gate of the Danish Mission Higher Secondary School was opened for those who came running for life and also for those who were brought by trucks and mini lorries from Cuddalore. In no time hundreds of people were given asylum in the school premises. This was an important day for the ALC Nellikuppam congregation as they were celebrating their Congregation Christmas which was planned with a fellowship dinner at the end. On seeing the desperate situation the local pastor with the consultation of the committee and the congregation called off the celebration at once and offered a special prayer for the victims from the Church and served the Christmas dinner to the hundreds of victims who came from Cuddalore.

Relief works was thus started quite naturally and instantaneously by ALC as a mark of response of Christ love towards the suffering ones. Added to it the fact that the Central office of the ALC is located in Cuddalore, the district that is noted to be severely hit by the tidal waves has again paved way for the natural demand for ALC to commit for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims.
1. Response of ALC Congregations towards the disaster:

Special service was conducted with ecumenical involvement at Cuddalore church in memory of the departed souls and for God’s peace to the bereaved families.
Special prayers and moment of silence has been observed in all the congregations of the ALC during worship services.
The coastal Pastors namely Rev.Babu Jayakumar (Parangipettai) Rev.Johnson Ashok Kumar (Cuddalore) and Rev.D.Peter Paul Thomas (Pondicherry) involved with full vigor in the relief operations along with volunteers from their respective churches.
Groups of interested persons from various congregations came with relief materials on their own to the affected villages in and around Cuddalore and Pondicherry and distributed the same.
Women’s desk of ALC took the initiative of collecting clothes and other stuffs from congregations and on 31.12.2004 about 20 women from various congregations gathered and went on distributing in one of the most affected villages in Cuddalore.
The Sunday school and Youth Desks extended their cooperation in organizing volunteers for emergency relief distribution.
Mrs. Sujatha Stephen, Manager DM Boarding Home Melpattambakkam and Rev.Babu Jayakumar extended their services in food packets preparations to distribute among the victims during the emergency operations.

Together with the above said response, the following congregations made cash contributions:

Vriddhachalam - Rs. 1000/- Kallakurichi Rs. 1000/- Panruti - Rs. 1000/-
Neyveli Block-28 Rs. 1100/- Naidumangalam Rs. 100/- Polur - Rs. 500/-
Carmel Rs. 1000/- Perumbakkam Rs. 350/- Neyveli Bl-19 Rs. 7250/-
Mandarakuppam Rs. 2050/- Cuddalore Rs. 870/- Kilkavarapet Rs. 500/-
Nellikuppam Rs. 4829/- Pennadam Rs. 1000/- Suviseshapuram Rs. 3337/-
Pudupettai Rs. 1150/- WF, VDM Rs. 2000/- YF,VDM Rs. 2500/-

2. Phase I relief operations.

Phase I relief operations have come to an end and the following were provided as relief materials to the victims:

Temporary shelters for 104 families in Swamiyarpettai
Two months supply of provisions.
Comprehensive health care.
Sanitary facilities
Counseling for Women, Children and Men
Coaching classes for school going children – note books, books etc for students
Complete house-hold Utensils
Mats, Pillows, Bed sheets etc…

3. Phase II Relief Operations:

The following were the need identified for the comprehensive relief and rehabilitation:

1. Tools for their livelihood like boats, nets etc.
2. Building permanent houses and other facilities.
3. Organizing co-operatives.
4. Building a play school for the children.
5. Drinking water facilities.
6. Providing good Health care facilities.
7. A community college to provide training in Job Oriented skills etc.
8. Community Center

ALC Target Villages identified for Phase II relief work :


Data courtesy: ALC School Project

1. From the very day of the disaster, Mr.G. Sundar the project manager and his staff with their entire resources have involved totally in the relief operations. Their regular work was suspended and a temporary office has been set-up at Cuddalore to enable the relief operations in a systematic way. The zonal offices at Tiruvannamalai and Thiyagadurugam have moved to Samiyarpettai and Pillai Chavadi respectively. Their involvement in this relief operations beginning from the assessment to implementation is much evident. They have adopted a systematic operation methodology to carry out the relief work. Thus they have issued a family card to every affected family which has all the relevant particulars of the respective families. To enable efficient distribution of relief materials the supply of tokens to the affected victims prior to the distribution is adopted. And such systems were of great help in the process of relief operations. ALC School Project has also involved their Core Group to extend their services to the students who are in the school finals by organizing a three day coaching camp at Swamiyapettai. And this core group has also supplied the students their immediate needs in terms of books, notebooks and writing materials.

2. A team inclusive of theological students was assigned under the leadership of Mr.BJ.Amaladoss to conduct a survey which enabled a good planning and execution.

3. Junior Ministry desk was assigned to take care of the children community belonging to Swamiyarpettai and Pillaichavadi. Accordingly a group of 14 team leaders both male and female were divided into two groups. These leaders are originally well trained and have the potentials of dealing the children. However, in this context a special training was offered on Psycho-Social counseling by Dr.Prasantham a renowned counselor. Apart from the inter-personal counseling and meeting them in their families, the children are engaged in singing and playing. Special activities are being organized. This has built up a good rapport between the children to the extent of knowing each other by names. And these services have been greatly acknowledged by the village committee and the parents with deep gratitude. It is expected that this service will be extended at least for a month. If needed to continue further.

4. A committee consists of 5 members namely, Mr. B. Jesudiyan, Secretary CB/ALC, as its convener and Rev. S. Babu Jeyakumar, Rev. D. Thangadurai, Mr. P. Nelson Nirmaladoss and Mr. S. Vijayaruban has helped in purchasing the overall relief materials.

5. Volunteers from Denmark Ms. Marlene and Ms. Anne have offered their services. Ms. Pernille Rosen Krantz-Theil from Denmark also has joined the team. A group of students, studying Theology at TTS, Arasaradi, Madurai were sent to gain first hand experience in the disaster management. It is to be noted that they all belong to ALC and they were sent on the request of the Bishop ALC for the said purpose.

The Treasurer, Secretary and the Bishop - ALC

Update 4


Response to Crisis phase has been a big challenge; Also looking at the way ahead



The UELCI and its implementing partners have got into the action of relief distribution and have also entered the second stage of the crisis phase, which is the construction of temporary shelters. The Central and State governments continue to announce several schemes and programmes for the affected. What is however not clear is the Government’s position on the issue of return to livelihood.
Interactions in several affected villages in Cuddalore at the time for the distribution reveal that there is a serious concern in the fishing community. Some do express fear of the sea, but many do say that they are willing to go back to the sea for fishing. One of the categorical affirmations is that, ‘they do not see themselves changing their vocation and livelihood due to this tragedy’. Therefore there is a change of thinking. Some of the fisher folk movements and groups are demanding that the Government come-up with a statement to endorse the return to fish eating. “Whom do we sell it to? “quips one of them. In the lack of scientific analysis and explanations, if the fish, when eaten now after the Tsunami is safe or otherwise, there is a lot of frustration showing in the villages. Gradually the media is reporting stories from the Government Labs and labs from Australia. A report today, claims that no virus does has affected the marine life after the Tsunami. This opens up a new beginning altogether. Many want their lives and livelihoods to be restored as soon as possible. They do not see themselves at the mercy of the government and aid for too long.
The psychosocial interactions have also revealed that there is still a very high level of trauma. Sleeplessness and fear seem to be the key health challenges.
The UELCI continues in its relief measures at Nagercoil, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tranquebar and Bapatla.
Nagercoil and Kanyakumari Operations
The following is the Nagercoil and Kanyakumari operations.
Kanyakuamri was one of the most affected parts in south India by TSUNAMI last month 26th December where more than 1750 lost their lives in both Kanniyakumari and Nagercoil. More than 40,000 thousand people are homeless and they have been given temporary shelters at different government and Roman Catholic church camp centers. The UELCI has distributed relief materials to communities in the following villages who were living in two major camps.
The distribution covered the communities from the following villages: Chinna Muttam, Kovalam, Keelamanakudi, Melamanakudi, Annai Nagar, Pallam,Pillai, Thoppu, Kadiapattinam, Pudhur, Kottilpadi, Kolachel, Manakadu, Kodimunnai and Innayam
At Nagercoil, the staff team of UELCI had a planning meeting with the IELC treasurer, Mr.Gnana Jothi, Treasurer, IELC and Rev.Muthu Raj, President, IELC Nagercoil Synod, Rev.Davidson, Vice-President, IELC Nagercoil Synod and with some of the local IELC pastors. The team collected the data of the most affected areas in the whole of Kanyakumari Districts. This included the details regarding deaths, homeless, etc. After the need was identified by the local communities, medical assistance was rendered with the help of a local hospital. People were treated for injuries and other ailments.
The UELCI/SWAP team approached Mr.Ramesh Chand Meena, Collector, Kanniyakumari District for permission and for allocation of villages for distributing relief materials to the affected victims. Two elected representatives of the communities from the church assisted in the entire process. Finally on the advice of the Collector, through the locally elected representatives permission to distribute relief materials to the selected camps was granted.
Two different camps were chosen for distribution at Manakudi and Kolachel and the distribution was done in the presence of the IELC church leaders, political leaders and local camp supervisors. The distributed materials included Utensils, Dress materials [sarees & dothis], Medical support & Water.
225 packages of Relief materials were distributed in the Nagercoil affected part and 200 were distributed to the people affected in different parts of Kanyakumari. Also, 55 relief materials were distributed to the patients admitted in different hospitals affected by tsunami.
Medical support was also provided to some of the selected hospitals where Tsunami affected people are given free treatment. The assistance was given through James, Gnanamani , Abdul Kadhar, Ezhilarasi & Irudhayam Hospitals and clinics.
Water packets were also distributed in the campsites at Kolachel, Kottilpadu, Kelmanakudi, Pillai Thoppu, Pallam areas and also in hospitals at Kolachel, Manakadu and Pudur.
The communities have also expressed their future needs by identifying the following as their priorities; Permanent Shelter, Boat & nets to continue their livelihood, uniforms and school note books to the children and Medical Camps.

Cuddalore Operations
After being allocated four villages in the Cuddalore area, the UELCI began the vital process of collecting family data. Every family was considered and documented. Several volunteers from the Arcot Lutheran Church and from the communities helped the survey and analysis methodology. Each family was also given a family card as recognized and endorsed by the local panchayat leaders. This helped community participation. The families’ gathered at the given time and the relief articles were distributed with the help of volunteers, supervised by the village leaders. The partners from the Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran World Relief, Norwegian Church Aid, leaders of the Arcot Lutheran Church and representatives and staff from the UELCI were also present at all the distribution centers. A senior writer Kelly J. Bauer has been accompanying the UELCI team.
The distribution took place in Ayyampettai, Nanjallingam Pettai, Thammanam Pettai and Chitra Pettai. Relief articles like sarees, dhotis, cooking utensils, bed sheets and others were part of the relief kit. The Bishop Gideon Devenesan at the ACT/UELCI Tsunami Disaster Relief Office inaugurated the distribution at Cuddalore. The distribution process in one village had to be postponed due to the death of an adult in the village who died after a massive heart attack, which may have been caused due to severe stress and other reasons as well.
The Cuddalore Government secretariat has been very actively organizing and coordinating NGO activity and responses in the area. At the recent NGO coordination committee meeting the Government has now encouraged the NGOs to enter the second stage of the crisis phase and put up temporary shelters for the families to move into from the make shift camps. The Collector and the special Relief Commissioner, it is understood want this to be complete before the Tamil cultural festival called Pongal, which is the Tamil harvest festival.
The UELCI has already begun the stage of planning to execute the construction of the temporary shelters. It is also perceived that this will also quicken the process of rehabilitation. Rev. Dr. Augustine Jeyakumar from the UELCI has been leading the Cuddalore operations.
Health operations by the National Lutheran Health and Medical Board (NLHMB) of the UELCI
The National Lutheran Health and Medical Board of the UELCI along with its medical partners such as the CBM, Christian Medical Hospital and College, Ludhiana and the Lutheran Bethesda Hospital, Ambur have set up a makeshift medical facility at the Bishop Peter Teacher’s Training College at Devanampattinam, Cuddalore. This medical facility currently has both inpatient and outpatient facility. About three specialist doctors, nurses and medical workers are working round the clock in providing medical attention. The common outpatient complaints have been fatigue, sleeplessness, stress related problems, etc. Some cases of food poisoning and dysentery have also been reported. Some, the doctors said many need tranquilizers to reduce tension and stress. The NLHMB and its partners are also planning to move to the send stage of the crisis phase into psyco-social and trauma counseling into the communities. They have begun the TOT process to enable community training through community leaders and volunteers. Dr. K.M. Shyamprasad, Directed of the NLHMB and Dr. John Abraham, Medical Superintendent are currently proving leadership. More doctors and medical personnel are expected to joing the teams.
The Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church, TELC is also setting up a similar medical facility at the Tranquebar Spiritual Center with the assistance of the TELC Joseph’s Ophthalmic Hospital and Research Centre, Tiruchirapalli. This center will be inaugurated on the 11th of January to address the health issues in the area.
In the mean time the Church Women’s Centre at the Gurukul campus, Chennai wears a look of disaster relief center. Articles are being downloaded, packed, labeled and reloaded for the distribution at Tranquebar and Nagapattinam on 12th January.
Lutheran World Service-India, Operations
ACT partners UELCI and LWSI are working together to alleviate the suffering of people who have lost all in the tsunami disaster that devastated parts of South India on 26 December 2004.As of now, there is no shortage of food as both government and non-government agencies are providing it to the people of devastated areas. So UELCI and LWSI do not consider it a pressing need which requires our intervention.
Immediately after getting news of the disaster, Lutheran World Service – India was in contact with UELCI to offer them its support for the initial stages of the crisis relief. Since Lutheran churches are spread throughout the entire area, LWSI was glad to see that they were able to respond immediately to the initial needs. LWSI is pleased that UELCI staff have been representing LWSI as well as themselves in their meetings with government and district officials.
Mr K G Mathaikutty, LWS(I) Programme Director (Emergency), visited the area from 30 December, and he and Rev. Chandran Paul Martin, Executive Secretary, UELCI, held discussions with church leaders, government officials and other NGOs, especially CASA, regarding the best plan for relief and rehabilitation response in disaster-hit Tamil Nadu. Together they prepared the first appeal to ACT. LWS(I) Director, Mr Howard Jost, also went to Chennai and held consultations on 3 January with UELCI and CASA regarding our action plan. Together with UELCI leadership, LWSI sent the revised appeal to ACT and other donors.
An LWS(I) senior staff with extensive experience in previous disasters, including the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, has established his base in Cuddalore and with the help of 4 other staff and 3 volunteers provided by the Arcot Lutheran Church, has begun the process of getting villages assigned to LWSI by government officials and carrying out need assessment.
In spite of the competition among NGOs to be assigned villages in which to work, LWSI has been allocated 4 villages in Cuddalore and 3 villages in Pondicherry. More villages are being identified and will be granted to LWSI in both districts. Negotiations are in progress with church leaders and district authorities to achieve this. Right now, assessment is underway in the assigned villages as to the most needy families and their immediate needs. Once the appraisal is complete, tokens would be given to them by LWSI and relief materials will be distributed.
Our coordination and networking has been very affective. Two Co-ordination meetings have already taken place among ACT-India members and all its implementing agencies. The team leaders have established frequent sharing of information and a working relationship in the fields. The ACT partners and their field staff regularly meet for coordination. All the UELCI member churches in this operations vis-à-vis the TELC, IELC, ALC and AELC have been actively participating in our operations. The volunteers have been enlisted from the churches. This experience in the churches participation in disaster relief has given the church a new faith dimension. Congregations have been activated.
Several partner agencies and churches including the Norwegian Church Aid, Dan Church Aid, LWR, CLWR and mission agencies like the ELM, LMW, ELCA have extended their solidarity through support in this crisis phase. Some journalists and specialists are already assisting us in out operations.
Our implementing partners like IRDWSI and the NLHMB will continue to update us on their operations. This will also be shared in this news updates.

Update 3

Churches engaged in relief Measures: Aid pouring in

A week after the earthquake triggered tsunami tidal waves that hit the southern coast of Indian sub-continent aid from several quarters is pouring in. The worst affected being the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. For the survivals, the sea is a distant dream. The fisher folk are still uncertain whether they go back into the sea to restore their livelihood and reconstruct their lives. There are stories about the fisherman attempting to go into the sea and returning after a few steps with the boat. Therefore, the hope for reconstructions of their own lives may not be a distant dream after all. Several fishermen have been preparing to go back into the sea.

The Government continues to maintain the official report on the death toll of the disaster. The Government reports 9,479 as the official death toll with Tamilnadu alone accounting for 7814 (Nagapattinam along accounting for 6000 deaths), Kerala with 166, A.P. with 106, Pondicherry with 575 and the Andaman and Nicobar with 818. More than 10,000 people are still reported as missing or untraced. Both the Central and State governments have launched massive relief operations and in almost in all instances are working with the NGOs.

The non-governmental organizations and the churches are now engaged in the second stage of the crisis face. Several of the feeding progrmmes have been discontinued and distribution of old clothes has been rejected. According to Government sources the epidemic is under control. However, there is several thousands, it has been reported have been affected by the epidemic. The major problems being diarrhea, cholera and dehydration. Problems such as gastroenteritis, respirator infections and depression are also expected. Several children are in need of pediatric attention and some adults to be treated for major injuries. The Government has appointed a Relief Commissioner at the Chennai secretariat who is currently involved in coordinating the relief work of the Government as well as coordinating voluntary work

The UELCI has dispatched four teams for relief work. Miss Vidhya Rani, Women’s Secretary of the UELCI reporting from Tranquebar describes the situation as depressing and uneasy calm. She and her team had visited Velipalayam, Kesavapalayam, Akraipatti and other small villages in Tranquebar. The team has mobilized the young people in the villages in cleaning and disinfecting the surrounding. The team has already identified more than 1500 families for immediate relief measures. The visits were made in close cooperation with Pastors, Social Workers and other Church leaders as deputed by the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church. According to the need as identified by the community kerosene stoves, metal trunk boxes, cooking vessels, education kits including school bags and cooking utensils will be distributed in a few days. Request appeals from the area have also come for temporary shelter as well as for pakka housing in the rehabilitation phase. The need for the supply of drinking water until the restoration of the regular drinking water. Rt. Rev. Dr. T. Aruldoss has been closely working with the UELCI team in the allocation of villages.

The team led by Rev. Dr. Augustine Jeyakumar, Director, Division of Social Action has been working in and around the Cuddalore area which is the third most affected area in the disaster. The team has already met with the Collector of Cuddalore who in turn had allotted Koilpettai, Thanjavalli and Trichopuram with 500 families for the UELCI to be engaged in. The church volunteers have already been recruited under the able leadership of Rt.Rev. Gideon Devanesan, Bishop, ALC. The family cards are now being distributed for identification and the distribution of relief materials will begin in the next few days.

The third team led by Dr. Raja Gerald,Youth Secretary, UELCI has been touring the Nagercoil and Kanyakumari area which is the second most affected area. They have identified Melamanakudi, Keelamanakudi, Colachel and Kottilpadu as the most affected in the region. It has been reported more than 1000 people have lost their lives and almost 50,000 people (10,325 families) are being kept in camps. According to Government reports more than 6000 families in this area have become homeless. Almost 23 families from the India Evangelical Lutheran Church congregations have also been seriously affected in the disaster. After the visitation and discussions with the communities utensils, blankets, clothing, drinking water and milk powder for babies will be distributed for relief items the communities have identified the distribution of uniforms and notebooks for school children, permanent houses and the supply of boats and net as long-term rehabilitation intervention. The IELC Treasurer Gnana Jyothi has been accompanying the visiting team. They have already met the local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Ms Austine for discussion relating to relief work.

Another team is being dispatched to Chirala in Andhra Pradesh to meet with the President of Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church to plan for relief programmes immediately. The AELC has been maintaining feeding programmes in five centers in the region.

The UELCI has in the meantime, has sent its joint appeal application (UELCI and LWS (I) for relief and rehabilitation to the ACT International Geneva. In its proposal it seeks intervention in three phases i.e., crisis, post-crisis and rehabilitation. It has also identified among other things an intensive comprehensive medical and health engagement including pshycho-social counseling. It will work and implement its programmes through its partners and other programme units such as Lutheran World Service (India), Calcutta, NLHMB, IRDWSI and SWAP. Several teams from LWS (I), NLHMB, IRDWSI and others have already visited the affected areas.

Messages of solidarity and support have come in from several churches including the Lutheran World Federation whose General Secretary Rev.Dr. Ishmael Noko who has expressed his deep sorrow and solidarity. The Christian Conference of Asia, the ELCA, the ELM, the Church of Sweden Mission, Danmission, Fin Church Aid, Norwegian Church Aid and several others have expressed their solidarity and support.

The Indian partners of Action of Churches Together (ACT) have already met twice for intense cooperation and coordination. At its last meeting on the 3rd of January the Indian ACT partners have agreed to launch a joint website. The UELCI is setting up the TSUNAMI DISASTER RELIEF INFORMATION CENTRE at the Martin Luther Bhavan for effective information sharing. The Centre will also document activities of all the partners working in this disaster. The CASA, LWS (I) and the UELCI are three ACT partners in India. Mr. Mathai Kutty, Emergency Officer, LWS(I) and several international partners have already visited the areas.


Monday, February 21, 2005

UPdate 2


The Tsunami HAVOC :Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry account for 4,500 deadTamil Evangelical and Arcot Lutheran Church organize food and medical camps in several affected villages; UELCI coordinates operations

The tragedy continues as more reports of death keep flowing in. As of mid afternoon of 28th December, about 4500 deaths have been reported in Tamil nadu and Pondicherry alone. Unconfirmed reports, however, put the toll at over 5,500 and in Nagapattinam alone, more than 2,500 people have perished. Over 500 bodies have been recovered from Velankanni, most of whom were pilgrims worshiping in the famous Velankanni Church. In many places, it has been reported that the water levels are receding. Relief work has been going on in full swing. This has been done by the Government and by several voluntary organizations. Water levels have receded in many places in low-lying areas of coastal Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, helping relief workers to speed up operations.In many places volunteers have been helping the Government and military authorities in clearing the debris and in looking for bodies. Media reports show mass burials taking place in several sites of the tragedy. Kanyakumari happens to be the most badly hit district with over 600 reported deaths. This is followed closely by Cuddalore district with 425 deaths reported as of this afternoon. Several Government and private medical teams are treating the injured. It is estimated that several tens of thousands have been rendered homeless. The Government has made temporary arrangements by accommodating the victims in community centers and ‘schools.

The Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Arcot Lutheran Church have begun operations by setting-up food and medical camps. Church teams continue to visit villages. The ALC has now identified about 3000 victims at Cuddalore and Porto Novo. The church is also initiating efforts to begin operations in Pondicherry. Both the churches have identified the need to provide food, water, temporary shelter, blankets, clothing and utensils for the survivors. Several deaths have been reported in the churches as well; in TELC, ALC and IELC.In the mean time the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church has also sent a team to study the situation in the coastal Andhra belt. The Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church, while celebrating its Golden Jubilee of Indian leadership today dedicated their celebrations by committing to raise support and resources for relief work. The Executive Secretary of the UELCI addressed the Jubilee by teleconference. The Jubilee collections have been earmarked for relief work.The UELCI is sending a medical team from the Lutheran Bethesda hospital of the IELC to assist the ALC in its operations. The UELCI is monitoring the situation and has initiated responses through the support of the Action by Churches Together. (ACT International) and other churches and partners, The Lutheran World Federation, partners, mission boards and churches have sent messages of solidarity and pledges of support.

(All assistance may be sent to UELCI)

Rev.Chandran Paul Martin
Executive Secretary, UELCI

Update 1


- Churches responding with vigour


An earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hit Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the eastern coast of India. The Giant waves that followed the earthquake, simply engulfed and sucked into the sea people, property and infrastructure. This was the largest killer Tsunami in 40 years. The Press Trust of India reports that nearly 190 people were killed when huge tidal waves triggered by tremors hit coastal areas in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu 26th December morning. The tidal waves swept away the houses and destroyed the boats killing nearly 2000 people, District Collector Gagandeep Singh Bedi, said. Right from the morning, high tides lashed the coast, he added. According to the reports, the affected villages were Sothukuppam, Sonankuppam, Devanampattinam and Modasalodai. As per the information received as on the evening of the 26th December, the following details have been received regarding the number of people who has lost their lives from the following places:

District No. of people died Remarks

Nagapattinam 500 most of them were fishermen
Kanchipuram 50
Kanyakumari 20
Pondicherry 100 neighbouring Union Territory

In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the following places have been seriously affected: Machilipatnam, Visakhapatnam, Nellore and Srikakulam. Helicopters had been pressed into service to locate the dead or any possible survivor. The Kerala state has also reported deaths.
The death toll has been rising as more reports of are being reported. Both Central and State governments have been involved in relief and other operations. They have announced compensation for the victims.

The Churches received the event with shock and despair. This is happening just after Christmas. The festivities have now given way to interventions of action and prayers for the victims. Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC), the Arcot Lutheran Church (ALC), the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC) and the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC) are the Lutheran churches have their presence in these affected areas. Bishop Gideon Devenesan of the Arcot Lutheran Church has stated that 'he has pressed into service pastors and youth members of the church in study and monitoring.' The church with the assistance of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India (UELCI) and the CASA, will open feeding centers in several places in Cuddalore and Pondicherry. Bishop T. Aruldoss, Bishop of the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church has called this as “worst tragedy in recent years” and has also reported of the opening of feeding centers. The TELC will operate in Nagapattinam and Karaikal, and in some of the worst affected places. The Rev. Victor Moses, President of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church has assured initiatives in the coastal belt of Andhra Pradesh.In Chennai (Madras) the Christian Community has organized feeding programmes for the victims in the coastal belt. Bishop V. Devasahayam, Bishop in Madras, Church of South India has expressed his deep anguish and pain.The United Evangelical Lutheran Church has been in touch with its member churches that have expressed their solidarity with the victims and have also promised assistance. The UELCI is also in touch with its partners, the Geneva based Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Action by Churches Together (ACT-International). It has organized teams to study the situation and monitor the disaster. It has also appealed to its partners to support the immediate feeding centers and medical camps.

The UELCI will already prepare programmes of rehabilitation with the perspective of long-term engagement.

The UELCI also expresses its deep anguish, pain and solidarity with all the families and their dear ones in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Male-Maldives and other countries. South Asia is in tears.
The UELCI appeals to its partners and member churches to continue to express its solidarity and also to support its activities. It appreciates all who have already expressed their solidarity and pledged support.

Rev. Chandran Paul Martin
Executive Secretary, UELCI