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
Today we covered 30 km from Campbell Bay to Joginder Nagar and back on a survey even though the road was beyond use. We travelled through many canals and during the high tide water can drown boats. Hence we had to come back the same day. We had to remove our clothes to pass through the canals. Tomorrow our ship is arriving with the supplies sent by UNITED SIKHS. None of the other organizations are here. They had left long back after cosmetic touches. We are planning to construct individual houses as the settlers are settled at different locations, which are very far from each other. Hardly any vehicle movement on the island is possible. Either the vehicles are broken or the roads are broken. We are planning to write to the government to allocate a new pieces of land as the survivors lands are under seawater, which can't be used anymore. This will take a long time as government procedures are very slow.. Two days ago there was a strike by the Sikh settlers, as they wanted to be re-habilitated immediately. The Lt governor of Andaman & Nicobar immediately flew to this island and persuaded the settlers to call off their strike. I feel the settlers voice should be properly represented to the administration in Delhi and to the union government of Port Blair. Different Sikh organizations around the world should assist in the relief and rehabilitation operation because time is very short because the monsoons will begin in April. Then, for six months this island will be isolated and the problems will be thrown into a 'cold box'. The settlers' needs and rations for the coming six months should be procured.
We need to procure at least 5000 gas cylinders for the next six months for the langar, communal kitchen, at the gurdawara.
Immediate needs of the gurdawara are as follows: Sponsors urgently needed. Please contact UNITED SIKHS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Construction of ten toilets and ten bathrooms and overhead water tank estimating Rs 600,000. Septic tank at an elevated portion and the toilets at an elevated portion to be constructed.
- Gurdawara surrounding retaining wall to be constructed. This retaining wall will cost Rs 600,000.
- Gurdawara top sheds are to be replaced and covered by tin sheds which may cost about Rs 300,000.
UNITED SIKHS is sending more material for the gurdawara sahib on the naval ship tomorrow. It includes 500 beds, 350 mosquito nets, 1000 plates, 1000 glasses, 1000 spoons, about 50 buckets, utensils including pans serving spoons etc. And for kirtan, musical instruments are also being sent. We are trying to arrange for a visit by Surjeet Singh Barnalas.He is at Delhi and would be in Chennai after 13th. He provides great moral support to us.
On 2nd of Feb. nine people were rescued, 60 km from here, by the coastal guard ship, consisting of 5 males and 4 females. It included a 51 year old woman and 3 girls aged 9, 13 and 18 years and five males of which there were 2 elderly persons and three aged 18,20, and 21. They were living in the forest since 26th December. Major Santokh Singh and Judge Singh from UNITED SIKHS have also joined the rescue mission on the coastal guard ship.
Tsunami has damaged lots of Islands and life on the islands is almost come to stand still. The Islands of Nankhori include:
- Kamorta (Head Quarters)
- Chotainak, Badainak,Kak ama, Philchilo, Aliplo, Daring
- Masala tipto, Dandarakandi
- Sangowa, Manuak
- Champion Islands: Balubsti,haldiak, tipoang, indra, small lapti and hindyooi.