The Auroville Tsunami Relief effort has now entered Phase II and is still keeping up its driving spirit which is caring . Here are the different aspects of our ongoing work:
1. Health: A team for Health support is coming together, coordinated by Dr. Beena. The team will first take up the work of food supplementation according to a simple formula that provides extra nutrition to make up for the deficiency of relief food.The team will work from the Auroville Health Services office.
2. Water. A dedicated water team is looking into the short- and long-term water safety situation. There is evidence of saline intrusion in four out of six samples, and of microbiological contamination in all six samples from the affected coastal villages.
Further sampling and analysis of water samples is being done by Auroville water harvest. Data will be collated and processed on GIS and maps will be generated.
3. Counselling . Phoenix and her team are going around in the affected villages with bare hands and open hearts. “Listening, just listening,” says Phoenix , “makes all the difference.” There was this old lady who had lost her baby and kept crying. “I just kept quiet, looked at her and my body language did all the talking,” says again Phoenix . Another old lady was so traumatized that she took Phoenix 's hand and would not let it go. This work has only started and is bound to take many more months. Two counselling experts are coming from Bangalore to assist with the counselling process. At the moment there is still a big gap between what is given in the area of counselling and what is really needed. We need Tamil-speaking women.
4. Clearing and Cleaning-up. “Cleaning-up and clearing affected villages is much more that what it looks like,” says Alok, one of the coordinators; we establish a bond with the villagers, we work with them, we show that we care.” Many of the students of Auroville's schools are still involved in this process.
Volunteers from the University of Washington , CIIS, some Ashramites and 15 programmers from Turtle Technology have joined. We need to get more volunteers from outside as all the students have to go back to school.
5. Distribution. Our aim is to complete the first round of distribution by next Tuesday. After that more details need assessments will take place to see whether all immediate needs have been met. The distribution team is still looking for volonteers.
6. Auroville Beach Communities. Assessments are still in process in relation to the needs of each AV-Beach community. A policy is being developed for companies like the Spirulina unit as well as the guesthouses along the Beach. The final aim is to get these units back on their feet and fully at work again. No assessment is yet done on the rebuilding of the houses of the Beach-communities. Jitta and her family (Eternity) have found a place but only for one months. Devaki and her family (Sri Ma) also found a house for 2 months, which is adequate for now. Ashatit went to the Forest group to discuss the damage at Eternity and the Forest group assured him that they will take responsibility to re-establish the fence in Eternity as well as look after the forest. Rs 50.000 are given to the Forest group for this now. So far 3 lakhs have been spent on the AV- beach communities...
7. Communication. There will be a news update on the Auroville website every other day. Once a week there will be a progress report. The progress report includes facts and figures. An Italian translation of some selected material is expected shortly. Auroville Today has already published an extensive report. Tomorrow media people will arrive from Tamil newspapers and more material needs to be translated from English into Tamil. Auro-traductions is involved in this work. The Canadian News story has already been broadcasted. A film will be shown on Saturday evening before a concert. Hemant will update the community of what has happened so far as well as address the point that we need to get some more volunteers.
8. Fishing. The present situation on this subject is that different statements have been made in the media on the subject whether fishermen go out again to start fishing. In Cuddalore and Nagapattinam the fishermen have been encouraged to start again, and the first fishing boats went out yesterday.
9. Finances. 62 lakhs rupees have so far been received for the Village account; 9 to 10 lakhs have already been spent. 21.5 lakhs have been received for the AV-Beach community fund; 3 lakhs have already been spent.
Once again, thanks to all for the support, the enthusiasm and the trust you have put in us
The Auroville Tsunami Team