Amiable Aid - Blog


“…The children of slum live out in the open, little or no food to eat, bearing the brunt of nature’s fury and poverty, sharing space with beggars and during the months it rained, sleeping the nights in any dry, unhygienic place they find…”

While implementing various tsunami relief and rehabilitation programmes distinctly noticed a particular problem of access, arose with respect to children lost their parents to tsunami waves. Given the tragic number of children who died, families were desperate to take in those children who remained. The living standards of the said foster families were hard enough to accommodate and groom those additional child members.

AMIABLE AID adopted tsunami-caused parentless-children in the age group of 3-12 years and groomed them in the families those who lost their siblings to tsunami and enabled the foster families to access financial support. Still, there were many other orphaned children whose needs left unattended. AMIABLE AID was continually representing to Government taking up the cause of those children to arrive at a permanent policy framework. The strive ended only after the Government formed a Social Trust for the welfare of the children affected by tsunami and the Trust has taken in all the children of this category into its fold. The Social Trust is still functioning effectively which is in the worldwide attention.

When AMIABLE AID begun working with the women in the tsunami-hit areas, discovered to its surprise, women and girls though living close to the sea could not swim. It was the one of the reasons a large number of women died during the tsunami.

In the aftermath of tsunami, the physical safety of Widows and single women had been compromised as cases of domestic violence increased. Death of male breadwinners forced the widows to accept dual roles as the family income earner as well as the main caretaker for children and elderly.

The reports about the plights of displaced women after tsunami do not convey the stories that are never recorded, because they were never articulated. Eighty percent of these displaced people are women and children - were forced in to temporary camps. Men are active and automatically take charge of the relief. Women and children are lumped together as the "vulnerable". Newspapers have reported the shocking conditions in these so called "relief" camps. Apart from the physical conditions, there is little medical care available. People, including little children, are dying of malaria and diarrhea. When people are forced to leave their home in emergency situations, a number of things happen. Entire village run away. Many women lost their men to tsunami waves. In the camps we come across women who find themselves suddenly alone, heading their households at a time when they are least prepared, when their whole life has been turned upside down.

In such a situation, women are unlikely to come forward with their particular problems - such as for health interventions, or for safe sanitation facilities - unless particularly asked. In any case, they are rarely consulted. As a result, they silently bear the grief of losing a family member, the trauma of displacement and the challenge of survival and their new environment.

Even if everyone is equally affected in these camps, the set roles for men and women remain unchanged. Hence, the task of finding the food, cooking it, looking after the children and the elderly remains the primary responsibility of the women. Given these additional burdens, it is even more unlikely that they will volunteer an opinion unless specifically asked. An additional unspoken burden of displacement is the sexual assault many women encounter, within the camps and outside.

AMIABLE AID was working towards restoration of degree of earning capacity of the women widowed by tsunami whose livelihood damaged or destroyed. AMIABLE AID encouraged, trained and arranged financial assistance to such women to pursue economic activities and as a result these women

  • Were able to take control of their recovery and are not seen as helpless victims and passive receivers of aid.
  • Can address their household requirements which recognize them as responsible and rational economic actors.
  • And, restored their dignity. They drive recovery-not just of physical infrastructure but of families and communities.

“Persons marked by an infirmity like blindness, deafness etc., depend more than ordinary persons do for their happiness and for their support upon the ties of kindred, of friendship, and of neighborhood. All these therefore, ought to be nourished and strengthened during childhood and youth - for it is then they take such deep root as to become strong and life-lasting.”

AMIABLE AID always defending the interests of the persons with physical challenge, striving for them to get equal opportunities, disabled friendly scientific and technological devices stressed upon to enable them to cope with problems, encouraging work - therapy which provides disabled persons with work experience in a real working environment ultimately leading to placement.

An unexpected event like tsunami has aggravated the vulnerabilities to recurrent hazards of the disability sector at Nagapattinam, which has already been in the lower levels of the development process in this area. AMIABLE AID has imparted vocational training and arranged micro-finance to start their own business to physically challenged persons of various categories viz., orthopedic, blind, deaf, dwarf, fire injured.

After the initial shock of tsunami that eased out, the question of livelihood was looming large for the fisher folk. There prevailed a stage that sustainable rehabilitation would not possible unless fishermen venture into sea and resume their regular business. Fear of apparent tsunami and lack of resource for fishing made them stay away from sea even after many appeals from the Government for months together.

AMIABLE AID persistently counseled and motivated 50 fishermen families and derived vessels, nets and other equipments for them. As a result, the first batch of 10 boats with 50 crew members to enter into sea for fishing. This was the first time occurrence in the history of Nagapattinam region in the aftermath of tsunami. Only after this event the fishing business was gradually resuming throughout the entire coastal belt.

In memorial of South-Asian tsunami victims, 254, 464 saplings were planted in 24 hours by 300 persons at Pushpavanam village, Nagapattinam District between the days 01-02 October 2005. The Founder of AMIABLE AID coordinated the programme which was initiated by the Nagapattinam District administration and sponsored by Bilai Institute of Technology. Later on, the Guinness World Records Ltd recognized this event as a world record for ‘most trees planted in 24 hours by 300 persons’. The afforestation programme which started up as a memorial for tsunami victims worldwide and in an aim to protect the people from any further natural calamity which was declared as a Guinness world record event.

The tsunami had wreaked havoc on the prideful Nagapattinam beach and washed away all structures in it. Once AMIABLE AID was instrumental in establishing this tourist spot in the pre-tsunami days, which preserved socio-culture in this region in which the cultural heritage initiatives tend to be hobbled, even at best of times, by a paucity of funding and conflict among ideological position. The project realized only after much hardship. To build it again after devastation, AMIABLE AID highlighted the requirement, appealed to Government for approval, derived resource from many agencies and bring into reality an auditorium, a restaurant, children play ware, park, tsunami memorial dome and lavatories at the beach front.

On the year 2004, on the Boxing Day, tsunami water entered into the government hospital, Nagapattinam made the ground water salty. Steps were taken for patients to access pure water. AMIABLE AID volunteered the Periyar Maniyammai College of Technology, Thanjavur in their tsunami rehabilitation programmes and with the support of college of Engineering, San Diego State University; with the materials of M/s Pure O Tech, Inc CA92029 water purifier of 16,000 lit/day capacities has been installed in the Government Hospital.

The fast-moving wall of water that rode in from the ocean on December 26, 2004 break with terrifying force over the once calm and beautiful Nagapattinam District.

The December tsunami acted with hazardous impartiality, wrecking fishing villages and killing tourists and subsistence level costal farmers, flooding the places of post colonial elites and washing away relics.

Having extracted a toll of thousands of lives, while leaving behind much more number of homeless emotionally devastated survivors, the tsunami has reminded the people of the Indian Ocean the rim land of the Capricious natural forces against which all our hopes of development are phrased.

Our AMIABLE AID in association with relief agencies and government officials working in the wake of the catastrophe, volunteered/ participated/organized/ implemented/ sponsored/ and preoccupied with the larger number of deaths, the damage to settlements, reorient and rehabilitate those who were spared, rebuild a sense of security and community. Our area of operation was coastal Districts of Tamilnadu State, South India.

    The list of things done from the first day of tsunami is enlisted here to review the things which are out.
  • Corpses retrieved, arranged for burial/ cremation of the dead, debris removed.
  • Survivors rescued, Injured medically treated, cloths, food, and water supplied.
  • Temporary bridges, roads laid to access the coastal villages engulfed by sea water.
  • Survivors taken to safer campus such as schools, marriage halls and public buildings and feed and clothed.
  • Intermediate Shelters arranged. Each surviving family served with trunk box, kerosene stove, utensils fans, chair and mat etc., provided house hold commodities such as rice, sambar flour, kerosene, palm oil, salt, turmeric powder, tamarind, sugar, tea dust, milk powder and dry chilies provided with money to buy additional kitchen items.
  • Distribution of free books and uniforms for the affected children, duplicate educational certificates to persons who have lost their Original Certificates in the tsunami disaster, exemption from tuition fee, special fee and examination fee to the students affected by tsunami, arranged.
  • A major counseling and support programme aimed at restoring the confidence of the affected people launched Men, Women and Children nursed back to a normal level of confidence after trauma.
  • Capacity building and implementation assistance in the form of design and construction and supervision and technical support consultancy and incremental administration in the event of disaster, provided.
  • Sanctioned the relief package to the families who returned from comparatively worst affected Andaman Nicobar Islands to Nagapattinam.
  • Under tsunami Emergency Assistance Programme accelerated economic growth and poverty alleviation in the tsunami affected areas by assisting in the restoration of livelihoods especially of the poor and complementary rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged public infrastructure. Restored the livelihoods improving transportation infrastructures like roads and bridges and ports and harbors, Rural and municipal infrastructure improvement like water supply and sanitation and others.
  • Relief assistance to the implementing agencies for partly damaged mechanized fishing boats and for construction of new mechanized fishing boats in replacement of fully damaged boats sanctioned.
  • Repair and maintenance of mechanical fishing vessals, built.
  • Package of assistance, for enabling fisherman who lost their landing centre, harbor and launching centre due to tsunami, provided.
  • Relief package to mobile/temporary shop owners and pucca shop owners, sanctioned.
  • Relief assistance to the damages caused to the property of small business men such as Prawn/Crab farm owners, fish seedling farm owners, fish transport owners, ice manufacturing units etc., who had lost their assets due to tsunami, sanctioned.
  • The cross bunds inside the salt works affected due to tsunami, restored.
  • Relief to the Small Scale Industries units affected by tsunami, provided.
  • Acquisition of land for permanent house construction, of permanent houses and infrastructure, repairing reconstruction of existing houses, arranged.
  • Reclamation assistance for sand cast and saline horticulture lands affected by tsunami. Relief assistance for the loss of livestock, grant relief to the affected farmers, arranged.
  • Walls constructed to prevent intrusion of water in to the coastal villages, bio shields planted.
  • Schools, Child welfare centers, Hospitals, Primary health centers, Community centers, Vocational training centers etc., constructed in the tsunami affected areas.
  • Started special creches for children in the tsunami affected districts.
  • Started special homes for orphaned adolescent girls in the age group of 14 to 18 years and unmarried girls above 18 years of age and also provide protection, dresses, skills related to income generation programmes and to pursue their higher studies.
  • Re-channelizing operation for reproduction arranged for family-planned women who lost their children to tsunami waves.

As is evident from the world wide response to the tsunami emergencies can and do bring out the best in human nature, compassion, decisiveness and heroism on behalf of others. The efforts and rehabilitation works of AMIABLE AID has received appreciation from many quarters worldwide.