Thursday, December 30, 2004

Onsite Update :: from Rajaram in Chennai [1]

Hello All,

Here are some updates regarding the Tsunami relief efforts.

As Lakshmi mentioned in her previous Email, Asha Chennai is planning to assist the families that have lost their houses (the actual tenants and not the people who owned these huts) in the Kuppams near BesantNagar. Asha Chennai would be allocating Rs 50,000 from our buffer funds towards the Tsunami relief efforts. (Note I have talked to as many of the local volunteers as I could since we couldnt call a meeting). This would be used for the efforts being undertaken in Besant Nagar area as well as to advance money for actions elsewhere for which the broader Asha would like us to fund immediately.

Towards the activities in Besant Nagar we have the following potential donors,

1. Prof. B. Subramaniam from IIT (in charge of NSS) has contacted a newspaper in Hamburg which wants to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the families affected in Urur/Olcott Kuppam and especially pay for the needs of the school children whose families are affected.

2. Vijaya Sundaram hope to raise funds for these purposes from the employees of Cairn Energy.

3. Several donors have already come forth to support families under the Support-a-Family project to put these families back on their feet as soon as possible.

Further today Sairam (a volunteer from Asha Seattle) and I visited the Bhoomika Trust and AID both here near Lloyd's Rd. They are both sending volunteers and supplies to various places in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and other affected areas. They are planning to setup centers here for long term rehab. They seem to be doing good work. They also seem to be coordinating
well with several smaller NGOs. They are currently not coordinating with the government or other big NGOs like Red Cross. They intend to do this as well.

They are planning on having a meeting on Sunday the 2nd Jan at 9:30 am with all NGOs to coordinate the action going forward. I plan to attend this. All volunteers are welcome. We would get a clearer idea of how we can participate in the rehab work in the long term.

Note if any Asha volunteers can go with these supplies from AID/Bhoomika Trust to Cuddalore or Nagapattinam that would be great. Please let me know.

As for the immediate needs Bhoomika Trust did not have specific immediate needs in terms of supplies. AID required medicines. Both Sairam and I are enquiring about the costs etc. We intend to buy supplies for about US $1000 equivalent (I assumed from Asha Seattle). We may be advancing this money from Asha Chennai initially.