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From the Field
Relief Workers' Report

UNITED SIKHS, an international non-profit human development NGO, is currently working to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. Current UNITED SIKHS projects include relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nicobar Islands, South India, and Aceh, Indonesia.

Situation and Rehabilitation Efforts needed for People in Great Nicobar

We reached Campbell bay at about 2:00 PM by ship. We have taken a private room in front of the Gurdawara. The journey was fine and we visited other Islands at Kar Nicobar and Nancowri islands. We visited various camps on theses islands. There are reports that the distribution of supplies is unsastisfactory and that relief supplies are being sold in the shops. This is a very sad. The material sent to the tribal area is not reaching its target. The administration is inadequate. Effective management is the need of the hour for proper rehabilitation and distribution of supplies . At Campbell Bay housing is urgentkly needed. Machines for making the land usable should be made available, as mostly the area is hilly.

Following equipment are required for this purpose:

  1. Earth movers (tractor based)
  2. A Dumper truck (we need a new one as the springs and the hydraulic washers play an important role and even the salt water and humidity affects the machinery. Its approximate cost is Rs.10 lakhs.
  3. A vehicle for transportation of sangat from one place from another is a must. This would cost Rs 5.5 to 7 lakh.
  4. small jeep for the movement of the organizers is also required.

On Sunday regular kirtan and langar will be started at gurdawara. We will be receiving langar utensils in the next shipment within 2 -3 days with 500 beddings and about 300 mosquito nets apart from other materials. Amplifiers and speaker are also being shipped. Apart from the abovementioned supplies, a school and a polytechnic should also be applied for under the minority quota and constructed at Campbell bay. This is the future requirement for students. There were tremors at about 7 o clock, which has been happening every alternate day. A concrete structure, that is, a construction with cement and iron cannot stand the jerks or the tremors. Hence the government has ordered the construction of wooden and fabricated houses. A proposal for prefabricated homes should be immediately invited so that houses are in place before April.

A Water purifier machine is also required, as the spring water is the only source of drinking water in the Island. Very soon the rainy season will pollute this water. The water purifier would cost Rs 15,000 per machine that would deliver 15 liters of water per hour. These machines would clear the heavy sediments of water. It is required that at least five machines should be immediately supplied at this juncture.

Two days ago, nine people were rescued from the tribal area, an operation in which Major S.S. Santokh Singh from Pingalwara and UNITED SIKHS volunteers participated. Tomorrow we are leaving for rescue operations along with coastal guards.

Esher Singh

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