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Thursday 6 January 2005

A Wave of compassion...

Students, lawyers, doctors, slum-dwellers, IT professionals... help is pouring in from all quarters for post-tsunami relief works, reports SHONALI MUTHALALY for THE HINDU.

"It's amazing," says Ishwarya from the Ila Kitchens Rescue Team (24985515), "We are getting calls from the general public, from people of all ages, from all walks of life. This is a first time experience for me... I never thought the world was so helpful. Or that people were so wonderful."

The scene at the villages, however, especially the smaller ones, is still frighteningly unchanged. "We've been visiting a lot of the small villages dotted along the coast, and they're still finding bodies in these places," says Balaji, who's co-ordinating the NGO AID India's work (044-28350403/ 55615629. www.aidindia.org) . "Our volunteers are finding still children trapped in fishing nets, whose bodies are decomposing... You can't blame the Government, they're doing what they can. But they need help," he says, adding, "In remoter villages there are, even now, a huge number of dead bodies that need to be cleared."

AID India has divided the belt into five main areas, he says, and "taken up a few villages in every point." There are apparently eight clusters where bodies have not yet been removed. And yes, most of their manpower is fuelled by everyday citizens from Chennai. "We just give them gloves, and they carry the bodies - voluntarily. It's a terrible job, but, amazingly, people are willing to do it."

Read the full report here
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