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Saturday 1 January 2005

Update from AID Chennai - 6

Disclaimer: This report contains some graphic mention of loss of human life. Please be advised. The following is an excerpt from a six page update from AID's Chennai office. Please visit here for the entire update: AID Update # 6

...Most of the people affected are fisher people - they are not "poor" in the sense of the word. One woman said "We may live in huts - but you should have seen the inside - it was full of stuff - we had men working in dubai and we had motor boats, TV, VCRs, jewellery and pattu podavais. All that is now gone." Outside the camp was a huge bundle of old clothes without people going near them. And inside the camp one woman said "People have given us torn clothes - we are not poor, we don't mind used but good clothes - but we can't wear torn clothes. I have been wearing this same sari for the last 5 days". A young girl said "We can't wear saris - no one has given us chudidars." Another woman said "We have saris but no in-skirts or blouses - how can just wear the saris?"

The clothes problem is just one illustration of what is going on - chaotic relief without sufficient planning or consideration for the people affected. The need as I have already emphasized is good coordination.

While the bigger villages have government machinery working on clearing debris and helping the victims in relief camps, the entire coast is dotted with a lot of small village where the dead bodies have still not been removed - and hardly anyone is working in these areas. The whole place is rotting with bodies (particularly of children and women) and is smelling even from a distance. Without clearing work, people cannot return to their villages or start their normal lives again.

Most people don't want to touch the dead bodies - or even go near them. We have now got about 350 volunteers from nearby districts to help with the body removal work. For the last few days this work has been going on in 7 villages - slowly expanding to more villages. Each village has 30-50 volunteers and the local people from the village. We provide the gloves and materials needed to start the clearing work. The first day 46 bodies were removed from one village. Many volunteers vomited and then we treated them and are now doing it by rotation. Two days ago, when volunteers began lifting bodies, the head and the hands from the corpses began to come apart! Many corpses are stuck under nets and it is difficult to remove these....

Source:AIDIndia Website.
1 Comments Post a Comment
Blogger Holly said :

I am a 38 year old American business woman located in Great Britain. In addition to being able to assist with project management and skill training for business, I was also a licensed bereavement counselor and juvenile substance abuse counselor in the United States and worked within the death services industry for 10 years. I am available to volunteer in person from now until January 15th if that is of any assistance, however I can also assist with development plans from here in the Uk for an unlimited period of time. Our family would also happily consider fostering children or even adoption if there is anything in place for that yet. My address is: hollyheat@yahoo.com

Sun Jan 02, 05:16:00 AM IST