Sunday, February 27, 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