06/20/2005, 00.00
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Still no homes for Tsunami survivors

by Nirmala Carvalho

The charge is made by Mgr Mariadoss, bishop of Thanjavur diocese, one of the areas hardest-hit by the fury of the waves. The prelate accuses the "apathetic" administration and describes survivors as "victims for a second time".

Thanjavur (AsiaNews) – The government is not allocating the land necessary to reconstruct homes for Tsunami survivors. Six months on, those who were subjected to the fury of the sea quake on 26 December, are still confined to temporary lodging, not suitable for monsoon weather and without hygiene safeguards.

The accusation is levelled by Mgr Devadasss Mabrose Mariadoss, bishop of the Diocese of Thanjavur, who told AsiaNews: "Survivors of the Tsunami which struck six months ago are still victims today. This time, the cause of their suffering is not the fury of the sea but the apathy of the state administration. We have set aside ample funds to build solid houses, but without building sites, nothing can be done and the Administration is the only organ which can allocate land."

The government is not heeding requests from farmers in the region either, even those who were victims of the disaster. "The abnormal wave of 26 December destroyed cultivation and flooded fields so now they can produce nothing. Farmers are victims just as fishermen are," said Mgr Mariadoss. The bishop praised the efforts of the Thanjavur Multipurpose Social Service Society (TMSSS) created and managed by more than 700 volunteers. "Thanks to them," he said, "we are helping local women and children. We have constructed self-employment camps and I feel this could help the community towards rehabilitation. The entire community needs help and all need to help one another. This alone can heal the wounds caused by the fury of nature."

Fr Senegoland and Fr Antony Raj, who run TMSSS, told AsiaNews what their work consists of: "More than 70% of rehabilitation work has been carried out by the Church and by Christian NGOs. Now we are implementing a very important project, the reforestation of the coastal area." They add: "This project is fundamental to protect people's lives and, more importantly, it will serve as a deterrent for those who want to construct houses illegally, outside the limits placed by the coastal regulation zone. With the arrival of the monsoons, we must assure the influx of potable water to the temporary lodgings and we must prevent all possible epidemics of water-borne diseases."

Fr Denego, TMSSS director, said that with the end of the school term, the centre launched a series of special programs for children who have particular psycho-social needs. "The TMSSS has created a consultancy for childhood trauma, health and education centres for the poor and rehabilitation centres for orphans," he told AsiaNews. "We can only hope these initiatives will serve to reinsert these people into society as soon as possible."



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See also
Fishermen most affected by the tsunami
Tamil Nadu fishermen ask state government for safe homes not far from the shore
Caritas India hands over 648 new homes to tsunami survivors
PIME's tsunami reconstruction campaign raised almost 600,000 euros
A tree for each Tsunami victim


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