August 16th, 2012
Housing Service Summary Report
as reported in News and Notes
Matrimandir shortly after Cyclone. (Photo by Giorgio)
Repair of damages on buildings after the Cyclone Thane
To all Auroville,
The final report that we have sent to the working groups and the AV Foundation is here below summarized:
In total we have attended more than 300 cases (!!) and for a small department as ours, this entailed an enormous effort, while at the same time we had to continue necessarily with our normal work in other areas. We are sorry because some of you probably had to suffer delays and lack of attention in other housing issues, and we hope you will understand and pass a benevolent judgement on the service.
We are also aware that a good number of Aurovilians, services, units and activities, have taken care of their repairs and contributed with their own resources, which eased the requests received. However, we still found that the total amount requested was higher than the grant received from the Government of India. Therefore, we had to apply a certain criteria to prioritize the work in different categories: the first was to attend the residential building needs, the second the schools and public buildings, and the third, the farms, the community buildings etc.
During these intense seven months we have gone through different stages in our work. The first one was the chaotic first month and a half in which we were receiving a big number of urgent and sometimes dramatic requests and we were trying to set up a team with the capacity to respond to this new situation. We want to express our gratitude to all the people that volunteered to help in the very first days, previous members of the housing service, builders or people with experience in construction, some architects as well, many of them helped us to prepare the initial assessments of the damages, the necessary estimates, give the work to different teams, monitoring the repairs once done, etc.
Initially we didn't know for certain how much money would be available and therefore, how much we could commit to. The clarity on these issues was established little by little in coordination with the other members of the AV Relief Team etc. and the AV working groups. In spite of these limitations we were and still we are very happy with the capacity demonstrated to attend such a large number of requests and help so many people who were in difficult situations.
After the first avalanche of work and having taken care of the emergency cases, we entered into another phase in which many of the volunteers returned to their normal occupations and we were left with our regular staff. This was a period of consolidation of the data, establishing priorities and more clear criteria for grant allocation. We started to receive funds and estimation on how much we could expect realistically, so we could reply to the people with certainty on the allocations.
The last phase stretched until last week and was a period dedicated to complete the pending works, collect all the bills and finalize accounts and reports. This period took more time than estimated, because the delay in presenting the bills, deviation of estimates, unexpected delays in the work and justification of it, etc.
Now that all the work is completed, the Housing Service wants to express our gratitude first to the members of the Housing repair section, since they carried most of this immense work on their shoulders, and we want to mention in particular the work of one volunteer (Sabine) who has been taking care meticulously of the administration work. She has spent many days (Sundays and late evenings included) doing a very impressive and detailed work. As always a full report is available for consultation in our office to all interested people.
Last and foremost, we wish to extend our deepest gratitude to the Government of India for releasing the generous grant that allowed Auroville to make all these repairs.
31st July 2012
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