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(19 January to 24 January 2005)

This 14th Shodh Yatra was earlier planned to be organized in Kerala. Meanwhile Tsunami hit the costal area of Tamil Nadu state and we decided to attend the relief work by postponing our planned shodhyatra in Kerala. Therefore we could devote our energy for the rehabilitation of Tsunami calamity affected people. We are proposing to work for the affected people during January 2005. We are also collecting local donations for the relief work. SEVA local honeybee network member will coordinate this relief work.

SEVA, Madurai selected Nagapattinam District where causality was very severe in terms of more than 6,000 deaths and several houses destroyed. We selected the following villages to attend our rehabilitation work during January 2005. Volunteers / Honey Bee Network members were requested to arrive 18th evening of January 2005. Those who want to spend more time were free to do so. We had chosen these villages because they were most affected and the villagers lost their houses from 25% to 75% depending upon the location of the villages.

1. Tharangambadi
2. Kuttiandur
3. Vellakoil
4. Pudhupettai
5. Perumalpettai
6. Thalampettai
7. Chandrapadi
8. Kesavan palayam

Fourteenth Shodha yatra (Shram Yatra) was organized during 19th January to 24th January, 2005 for the relief of Tsunami victims in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. 25 Shodha Yatris from Gujarat participated this among which 4 were the grassroots innovators (Amrutlal Agrawat-Tilting bullock cart; Bhanjibhai Mathukiya-mini tractor; Ganeshbhai Dodiya-Motor
cycle mounted agricultural sprayer pump), 3 foreigners (fellows, AASTIK), 6 farmers/villagers from Jungadh and Bhavnagar Districts, 4 students from Gujarat Vidyapeeth and 4 staff members from SRISTI.
From Tamil Nadu also 15 students of Engineering College, Madurai joined for the shram yatra, 10 volunteers of SEVA, Madurai were
constantly there for the support and relief work. 

Mr. Johl from Ludhiana had already sent a truck load of blankets, cloths and other materials for the affected people in Nagapattinam district. One of the volunteers in Chennai had sent Rs.10,000 for spending towards relief work to SEVA. SEVA had arranged 2 trucks of immediate relief materials to Nagapattinam District, before Shodh Yatra, which include cloths, rations, and medicine besides 5 volunteers.

Honeybee network collaborator Mr. P. Vivekandan from SEVA, Madurai had planned and coordinated the efforts there with the SEVA volunteers. They surveyed the villages along with the sea cost in Nagapattinam district, which was one of the most affected districts and identified a few villages where there was a major economic or physical loss occurred.

We had made our base camp at the distance of hardly 5 km form the affected villages with an intension not to be burden on the villagers as they were yet not fully settled. Shodh Yatris started everyday around 8.00 in the morning from the base camp and reached villages, would ask for the necessary work to be done, and started working for the cause by putting their labor in. A few villages were there, where there was a need of repairing the roads which were wiped out due to the Tsunami waves/water. All the Shodh Yatris did that happily.

We would first go to the village and ask the villagers to gather at a point, would talk to them about their difficulties, demands, expectations from government, etc. and based on this discussion would start our work. We even showed our Multimedia database to them and offered any technology that can be useful to them for starting their livelihood, as a user as well as an entrepreneur.

The major thing we learned from the villagers was that, the major population that is affected is fishermen community, as they used to leave very close by the sea. Villages with farmers’ populations are a little bit away from the coast, hence they had comparatively less loss of lives, but their crops (paddy and groundnut) were completely washed out. Fishermen were waiting to enter in the sea again as they have lost their boats (Catamarans) and nets to fish. SRISTI donated one net in the village Vellakoil as it was highly affected village in this area. In this same village, there was a young girl who had lost her parents in the Tsunami and her livelihood was to stitch and repair cloths, her sewing machine was also lost in Tsunami. One of the Shodh Yatri, Shri Kiranbhai Dholakia from Rajkot promised to donate a sewing machine to this girl so as she can start her livelihood.

In many villages it happened that when we asked villagers about their needs, they happily said that we have got many things by now, but still as u r here and if u want to do something for us, whatever you will give, we will happily accept that.

In the village Keshavan Paliyam, a lady came forward in the meeting and said that they had little household items to start with but no one had yet looked after the school children, so asked us to arrange for the school bags for the nearly 90 students from the village. Total population of the village is of 83 households. These school bags were brought from the nearest town the very next day along with the few vessels for the villagers by SRISTI and donated.

SEVA has planned to work for longer time, not only for the relief, but even rehabilitation also in this and other villages. As a part of this rehabilitation work, women of the village showed their willingness to start a sewing work. Shri Bhanjibhai Mathukia from Kalavad, Junagadh and Shri Kiranbhai Dholakia from Rajkot showed their willingness to donate one each of sewing machine to this village. SEVA is taking care of procuring and installing these sewing machines in the village, and will organize a training program for the women. This village is entirely populated by farmer community hence their loss is still not compensated, they have even lost their livestock. SRISTI agreed to donate a goat per family, so that their requirement of milk can be satisfied.
SEVA even organized to procure cattle feed as the cattle and livestock there is feeding on the damaged crop which is highly saline due to the intrusion of sea water in the fields. This food has caused some stomach disorders and according to farmers few cattle died even due to this.

Shodha Yatris returned on 24th with the sorrows in their hearts for their fellow residents of the area. Our efforts are still on; SEVA has already made an extension of it there which will be working at least for next two years. SRISTI and other Honey bee network collaborators will be continuing their help in this mission.

The data we collected from the Collectors office, Nagapattinam Distrcit is as following regarding the death occurred per village and number of families residing in the village:

Village Families Persons died
Chandrapadi 50 77
Thalampettai 30 18
Perumalpettai 90 24
Pudhupettai 65 32
Vellakoil 40 19
Kuttiandur 130 15
Tharangambadi 300 280

Given below is the list of villages where number of beneficiaries for the fishing net (worth Rs. 10,000 to the catamaran owner and Rs. 20,000 to the FRP Boat owners) is more than 100 (Source: Joint Director, Fisheries, Help desk at Collector Office, Nagapattinam):

Palayar 100 Pattimachery-nagu 220
Kulliyar 120 Samandan pettai 100
Thodudai 180 Seruthur 190
Melamuvar karai 150 Vanavan mahadevi 110
Nayakar kuppam 105 Vellapallam 120
Madatha Kuppam 110 Naluvedapari 190
Pumpoohar 175 Maniyanthiva 120
Chinnangadi 140    

Damage of the agricultural crops and amount suggested for the relief:

Crop Area damaged (Ha) Rs./Ha
Groundnut crop loss (Cost of seed, preparatory cultivation and seed treatment) 1132.37 7800.00
Pulses (Seed and sowing cost) 50.00 825.00
Sand cost removal 342.00 15000.00
Paddy crop loss 4021.36 2500.00
Soil reclamation paddy area (Seawater inundated area, application of gypsum @ 2 mT/Ha) 4021.36 2840.00
[Soil reclamation is planned for three successive years]