Flood Relief Report
AVAG Village Action Group flood relief efforts reached 31 villages and benefited 17,000 people directly and 54,000 indirectly.
AVAG works with the most marginalised communities in the Vanur Block of Tamil Nadu, India. When the monsoon rain hit heavily in December 2015 leaving unusually high levels of flooding and much hardship for people, flood relief assistance was a natural step for AVAG.
The government announced the four districts of Chennai, Kanchipuarm, Thiruvallur, Cuddalore to be the critical areas, thus relief effort from government and NGO’s went there. But people in Villupuram district, especially dalit areas, were badly affected and did not receive much assistance. AVAG initiated a needs assessment in co-operation with the local community groups and the Panchayat (village leader). The most noted effects in this area were the following:
Agricultural fields fully flooded leading to loss of crops.
- Aged and poor falling sick with water borne and mosquito diseases such as dengue.
- Cattle sick due to non-availability of food or extremely chilly weather.
- Loss of income especially in the construction and agricultural sector of up to one month consequently many very poor and aged suffered without food.
- Collapsed housing especially in dalit settlements which are traditionally made of mud and located in the low lying areas of the villages. Many homes had also water oozing through the floors.
- Village tanks overflowing leading to stagnant stinking water which is the perfect breeding ground for mosquito. Roads and streets were in very bad condition.
- Three dalit settlements were submerged in water and people had lost their belongings.
- Approximately 10 villages had flooded residential areas.
For the first few days of the rains, the panchayats had made arrangements to accommodate people in the local government schools but the people soon needed to get back to their lives and were confronted with the loss. AVAG team began to mobilise resources and through its team of community workers began to take up five interventions:
Large scale spraying of the streets with EM began in affected villages to relieve the smells, stop mosquito eggs opening and control water borne diseases (EM – Effective Microbes is a liquid culture containing three types of safe micro-organisms which promotes vigorous plant growth. It is used for producing better agricultural crops and to manage organic waste including sewerage and polluted water bodies, reducing smells and controlling rotting).
EM street spraying
Drinking water was extremely dirty so AVAG distributed water purification sachets so that people could make their drinking and cooking water clean until the situation normalised again.
Water borne disease
A herbal remedy of 10 plants called Nilavembu Kudineer was prepared and distributed through AVAG’s women’s group network. This remedy builds resistance for water Borne diseases and was eagerly welcomed by the people.
Herbal remedy distribution by women’s groups
Food and clothing
Supplies of flood relief materials such as blankets, saris, rice, dal and mosquito coils were given to the affected families. The distribution operation was organised by AVAG community workers and AVAG women’s and youth federation members.
Relief distribution in the villages
We organised two health camps with the help of the medical teams from Jipmer and PIMs hospitals to give people suitable care and free referrals to follow up hospital service. The local women’s group co-ordinated all the local logistics including a feeding station.
AVAG Village Action Group was very happy to have been involved in this flood relief effort. In all cases this work was done in association with the local Panchayats (village head people) and with the co-operation of AVAG’s network of women’s self-help groups and youth club members. AVAG worked in 31 villages and the relief efforts directly helped 17,000 people who received supplies and a population of 54,000 by the EM spraying. See full table below.
We are extremely grateful for our project partners:
The financial support that came from Auroville flood relief funds and individual donations.
- The network of Panchayats and community groups.
- Auroville Flood Relief and Youth-link teams.
- AVAG staff who worked especially long hours and full weekends during this time.