Nemmelikuppam Tsunami Rehabilitation

Project Brief: Rehabilitating the fisherman community at Nemmelikuppam affected by Dec 26th Tsunami.
Project Type: Capex / Infrastructure (description)
Primary Focus: creating resources (description)

Secondary Focus: to go to formal school

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Arizona
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Mukund Muralidhar
Project Partner(s): Sandhya Balasubramanian
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , Nemmeli, Perur Post, Kanchipuram Dist.,,,,
TAMIL NADU  603104
Stewarding Chapter: Arizona

Total = $0

Nemmelikuppam is a village down the East Coast Road (ECR), after Kovalam, about 30-35 kms away from Chennai city. The village has 131 families [population 466; 70 children, 15 babies of less than 2 years old]. Two social workers Sandhya Sundar and Anoushka Ravishankar have been working with this village since the Tsunami. Asha Chennai is supporting the rehabilitation efforts at these villages by them.

The beachfront at Nemmelikuppam is a white stretch of sand, very picturesque, the sea stretching away on both sides, and no other habitation to be seen other than the now broken houses, devastated by the tsunami waves that hit the coast. The once clean sand now houses clumps of boat, net, thatch and household debris. The people of Nemmelikuppam say they have lost their homes, streets, clothes...the tools of our profession.

The village had a few thatched houses and more made of brick and stone. The thatched houses have been completely blown away. A road that had been constructed recently along the sea just wasn't there. Brick walls have broken down or fallen. Glass from windows, wooden doors and household debris litter the place. There was a small strip of tarmac and jelly stones [these are small stones that are used with cement to create the base of a road and hot tar is poured over this to form the road] had been blown away, some lying along the ECR.

Catamarans that had been beached along the water line lie damaged and upturned inland, some on top of houses. Of the 29 boats [fiberglass as well as catamarans] they had, 13 remain. The rest were taken by the sea. The water mark on the houses lie about three-quarters of the way up the walls. Electric poles were down; people from the department were putting in new electric lines. Houses have tilted, walls are broken. In some houses, the foundations have been exposed. The water and sand and seaweed has got into everything: groceries, clothes, books. The houses still had about four inches of water. All the fishing nets have been washed away or damaged beyond use.

The village is on a slight incline and the sea, they said, came in from three sides. The men had just returned with the day?s catch and had not noticed anything out at sea. When they saw the first high wave come towards the shore, the villagers abandoned their homes and ran to safety on higher ground, across the ECR and on to the opposite side. They say there were five waves in succession, each higher that the previous one. The highest was thirty-feet. By then everyone had reached safe ground, and no lives were lost. The people of the village are housed temporarily in makeshift camps near the ECR.

A couple of young educated boys from Nemelikuppam had prepared a list of residents in each household, the number of children in school, their names and the classes in which they were studying.

Rehabilitation Work Undertaken

1. Dry Rations and stoves given to the families.

2. School materials distributed to the children as part of the Back to School project.

3. Training and support on alternative livelihoods for women. In particular arrangements have been made for making paper and cloth bags.

4. Work with the local branch of Indian bank to provide loans for personal expenses to tide over the crisis.

5. Boats and nets for fishing provided as community property in the name of the Village Panchayat.