IHEU Tsunami Disaster Appeal

  • post Type / Action Alert
  • Date / 5 January 2005

IHEU Tsunami Disaster Appeal
On behalf of Arthik Samata Mandal of Atheist Centre, India
Update: UK taxpayers can donate via Gift Aid
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New: give by credit card with no deductions through IHEU member American Humanist Association — click here

The undersea earthquake near Sumatra on December 26 was the largest in the world for 40 years. The tsunami that followed caused a widespread disaster. About 12,500 people have been killed in India and more than 35,000 have been evacuated in Andhra Pradesh. Many others are at imminent risk of disease following the flooding.

The coastal communities of Andhra Pradesh are mainly dependent on fishing as their major source of income. Traditional handloom weavers are equally vulnerable. Many villagers lost the tools on which they depend for their livelihood in the inundation of water into the villages.

IHEU’s member organisation in India, Atheist Centre, has an existing disaster relief organisation in place since 1977, Arthik Samata Mandal (FCRA 010260025). This organisation already has the required Indian Government approval to receive overseas aid funds.

Arthik Samata Mandal of Atheist Centre and IHEU have launched an appeal to address both short term (rehabilitation) and long-term (reconstruction) needs. Programs are being designed in cooperation with the affected communities. Short-term intervention is aimed at bringing the community back to normal livelihood conditions. In the longer term, the objective is to reduce the geographical vulnerability. Arthik Samata Mandal of Atheist Centre’s main strength is in working with local community leaders, women’s groups, youth clubs, Panchayat Raj institutions and other grassroots civil society organizations.

How You Can Help

IHEU is accepting donations on behalf of the disaster appeal.

For other payment methods, please see the details near the end of this message. Full details of the appeal are provided in the rest of this message.

How Donations Will Be Used
Short-Term Needs

HEALTH: Medical attention through medical camps and if necessary referrals; provision of medicines.
FOOD SECURITY: Provision of groceries, utensils and safe drinking water.
HABITAT: Housing repairs and temporary shelters.
LIVELIHOOD: Provision of work tools, boats, fishing nets etc; provision of milch animals.
GENERAL: Provision of clothing, toiletries, etc.

Reconstruction for the Longer Term

HABITAT IMPROVEMENT: housing; sanitation; drainage; drinking water supply; mangrove regeneration.

Background Information

Andhra Pradesh is battered by every kind of natural disaster: cyclones, floods, earthquakes and drought. The coastal region suffers repeated cyclones and floods. The 1977 cyclone and tidal wave, which resulted in great loss of life, attracted the attention of the central and state Governments of India and the international donor communities, as did those of 1979, 1990 and 1996. The floods in the Godavari and Krishna Rivers caused havoc in the East and West Godavari and Krishna districts. Concerned about the frequent recurrence of cyclones and the devastating effect on the economy and employment potential of the people, Arthik Samata Mandal of Atheist Centre has concentrated its efforts in these coastal districts to mitigate the suffering of the people.

The communities living in the most vulnerable areas are the most disadvantaged in terms of their very low socio-economic status and lack of access to basic information, resources and opportunities needed for a dignified life. They have been the victims of circumstances over many years caused by uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources and mechanisation, which have had direct impact on local artisans. Communities are caught up in the debt trap as each new situation threatens their livelihoods. Ever since the 1977 cyclone and tidal wave, the coastal communities have struggled to recover from the aftermath of recurring disasters. Their means of livelihood such as boats, looms etc, are frequently washed away or are destroyed in these disasters. Their habitat, health and livelihoods are under continual threat.

Every disaster has even greater impact on the nutrition and health of women and children, as they are doubly disadvantaged during and after natural disasters. They are still required to perform their productive and reproductive roles. Children are forced into child labour to add to their family income. Vulnerable communities are not only exposed to natural disasters, but are also affected by forced changes in their economic, social and cultural circumstances in the aftermath of the disasters, such as migration, limited employment options, premature deaths of family members and extra burdens on the family. Added to this, the local fatalistic belief system put them on the back foot, leading to inaction even when the need for action arises.

Earthquakes in the recent past have occurred along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast and in regions in the Godavari river valley. Mild tremors have also hit the capital city of Hyderabad, for example in September 2000.

The Organisation

Arthik Samata Mandal (ASM) of the Atheist Centre was founded by Gora and J.C. Kumarappa, both well known Gandhians. Arthik Samata is the 13th Item of the Gandhian Constructive Programmes meaning “Economic Equality”. It was started as a disaster relief appeal following the 1977 cyclone and tidal wave when more than 10,000 people lost their lives.

In 1978, ASM was registered as an NGO under the Societies Registration Act of the Government of India. For the past 25 years, ASM has been actively working in the field of disaster relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and mitigation, and has been involved in comprehensive development programs (health, habitat, livelihood, education & child sponsorship), focusing on fisherfolk, handloom weavers, tribal people, rural artisans, agricultural labourers, and small farmers. Its major focus is on children, youth, women and people with disabilities.

Its operational area covers the Krishna, Guntur, Nalgonda, East Godavari, West Godavari, Prakasam and Nellore districts in Andhra Pradesh. About 90% of its operational area is along the coastline, with the remaining 10% in the drought-prone Nalgonda district.

Other Payment Methods

Alternatively, donations can be made by bank transfer or wire transfer to IHEU’s bank account: [details now removed].

UK taxpayers can donate via Gift Aid

IHEU is registered as a 501(c)3 in the US and donations to it are tax deductible under US law.

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