"It is now three weeks after the tsunami hit, and our work in India is shifting to help seaside village communities to rebuild their homes and lives," said Brent Hample, Executive Director of India Partners. "Many of the tsunami survivors, and relief workers, are exhausted from the intensity of the work. But now is the time for endurance to conduct the long-term work of rebuilding homes, communities, and livelihoods."
India Partners will now focus its relief work on community development such as rebuilding huts, fixing boats, and replacing nets that were lost in the tsunami. Families in fishing villages along the coast depend on the ocean for their livelihood, but without boats and nets, they are starving and not able to regain economic stability.
Since the tsunami hit, India Partners has helped 10,000 families in 40 villages along the coast of Andhra Pradesh by providing 60 tons of rice, 10,000 liters of drinking water, as well as lentils, blankets, clothes, and medicine.
The agency is also sending out a medical assessment team to Chennai, India to evaluate the post-traumatic stress that accompanies many communities after short-term relief agencies have departed.
Saving the Lives of a Village Family:
In one seaside village in India, a family consisting of a grandmother, her two sons, their wives, and four grandchildren were devastated. The tsunami took all their possessions: house, fishing boat, and nets. After 3 days without food and no one to help, they all became sick. The two sons decided to kill themselves, their wives, children, and the grandmother. When the India Partners team came to the village, they found the family lying in the dirt. The team gave them food, drinking water, and covered them with blankets. As they recovered, they cried and shared their plan to kill themselves. The team counseled the family, and after having food, water, and encouragement, the family found hope to live.
Story of Two Children Who Saved 10 Families from the Tsunami:
On Dec. 24th, 2004, in the early morning, 5 fishing boats from the fishing village of Giripurum were preparing to go out to sea. Lakshmi and Raju, a brother and sister, asked their dad, uncle, and the other boats to come back early morning on Sunday so that they could buy new clothes for Raju's birthday. The 5 boats went into the Sea on the evening of the 24th. Usually they stay 2 to 3 days in the sea and then come back after fishing. But the men in the 5 boats, while they were fishing, remembered that their children had asked them to come back early in the morning to buy new clothes to celebrate Raju's birthday. Therefore, the 5 boats returned home early in the morning on December 26th. They were supposed to come home the evening of Sunday the 26th. One hour after the boats arrived on the shore, the Tsunami came and many who were in fishing boats out at sea died. The families are now telling the story that because of the children they are home alive.
India Partners currently has ten relief teams working in Andhra Pradesh, India, and is planning to help at least another 10 villages with emergency assistance.
Photos and updates are posted to India Partners' website at www.indiapartners.org.
How To Help
India Partners welcomes contributions to help fund the agency's long-term recovery efforts to help Tsunami survivors. Here's how to help:
By Internet: www.indiapartners.org
By phone: 1-888-870-9085
By mail: India Partners, Tsunami Relief, PO Box 5470, Eugene, OR 97405
For more information, please contact Brent Hample at 541-683-0696.