9 January 2005 — Nagapattanam, Tamil Nadu
As part of its 100 crore tsunami-relief aid package, the Ashram is planning to construct 1000 permanent houses at Pattinacherry, Samanthampettai and other villages in Nagapattanam.
The Ashram already had constructed temporary shelters at Samanthampettai, which include provisions for clean drinking water for about 100 families. The Ashram is also constructing day-care centres and community halls for relief camps at Panangudi, Collectorate and Samanthampettai—complete with colour television sets and provisions for clean drinking water.
The Ashram is fully involved in the relief and rehabilitation operations along the coastal belt of Nagapattanam. Within a few days after the tsunami, a group of volunteers from Coimbatore, Chennai and Kochi—including students from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham under the leadership of Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya—swung into relief operations.
The Math identified Nagoor as its camp headquarters in Nagapattanam. and set up a huge community kitchen, the biggest in Nagapattanam. The kitchen served nearly 9000 people thrice a day in 12 relief camps in and around Nagoor and Samanthampettai. The victims at these relief camps profusely thanked the volunteers for serving steaming hot nutritious food right on time every day. Milk was also served to toddlers. Serving 9000 people spread over 12 relief camps is no easy task and this was made possible by the commitment and dedication of the volunteers.
A full-fledged medical team from AIMS (Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi) the state-of-the-art super specialty hospital consisting of seven doctors and five paramedics went around the coastal areas and attended over 300 patients every day. A fully equipped and well-stocked mobile ICU accompanied the medical team.
The volunteers also visited Pookaran Theru (also Nagapattanam, District) and distributed kits containing rice, dhal, edible oil, tea and other essentials to nearly 100 displaced families.
Rajendran, one villager who lost his wife and two children, says, “If not for the love and kind persuasion to eat food, I would have starved.”