Tsunami 2004 Updates
Letters to Midwifery Today

Sri Lanka
Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia
Auroville, India
Bangkok, Thailand


Letter from Meena Sobsamai, Bangkok, Thailand
January 4, 2005

Dear Jan, I'm more than happy to be your Midwifery Today country contact for Thailand. Regarding the Tsunami in the south, there are so many evacuations made to Bangkok and difference parts of Thailand. Many recover in my hospital, Samitivej Sukumvit Hospital. On behalf of Childbirth and Breastfeeding Foundation of Thailand and BAMBI (mother to mother support group), we've decided to help people in the effected area. We plan to support villages directly by helping them to build school or community building. If you or your organization will like to join I will give you more information when it is finalized. This demonstrates that we are the world, our love and heart are not limited by border. Not only humans but all life on earth, even elephants, dogs, fish, trees and underwater life that help support each other. I would like to thank all friends from all over the world from my heart.

—Meena Sobsamai RN, IBCLC, Bangkok, Thailand sobsamai@cscoms.com

Sri Lanka

Volunteering in the Field: Sri Lanka
January 6, 2005

A grass roots organization, Circle of Health International (COHI), is organizing for providers (all types of midwives included) to volunteer in tsunami-afflicted regions. They are currently applying for funding. I am sure they will take donations of money and airline points.

Those interested in going should contact:

Sera Bonds, MPH
Director, Circle of Health International
70 Brentwood
Allston, MA 02134 USA
Phone: (512) 517-3220
E-mail: sera@circleofhealthintl.org
Web: www.circleofhealthintl.org

—Megan Bower, MPH

COHI writes:

Circle of Health International’s mission is to support the empowerment of women in conflict, post-conflict and humanitarian emergencies through the provision of comprehensive women’s health services. We are presently working on development projects in Tibet and Palestine, and providing emergency relief in Sri Lanka.

We are midwives, OB/GYNs, trauma specialists, public health professionals, infectious disease specialists and activists. COHI field workers are competent, capable, compassionate, patient, and committed. COHI field workers are often required to respond immediately and creatively to life or death emergencies and must be comfortable in this environment. If you think this is you, then please provide the following:

  1. Your curriculum vitae (CV) with relevant field-related experience and licensing
  2. Precise availability for travel (city of origin), a list of current vaccinations and passport information (exact spelling of name, country, passport number, expiration date, place of issuance) and emergency contact information
  3. A brief letter describing why you want to join COHI’s field team.

Due to the nature of our field assignments, you should know that upon accepting assignment with COHI you will be expected to sign a waiver releasing COHI of all liabilities in regard to your health and safety when in the field. We do not presently have the funding to provide general health or travel insurance. COHI will do all we can to ensure that your health and safety are not threatened, but we work in dangerous places and cannot be held accountable for your absolute safety when on the ground. In addition, when accepting an assignment, you may be expected to provide your own funds to secure the medicine and field equipment required for your placement of no less than $250. Again, COHI aims to support its volunteers to its utmost capabilities, but due to lack of funding is not always able to do so and depends on the volunteers to sometimes provide their own monetary support in this way.

Through the generous support of individual private donors, COHI has already begun to respond to the unfolding disaster. We already have our first team coordinator, epidemiologist Johnny Lee Park, MPH, on the ground in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Mr. Park will be conducting the First Assessment Phase of securing critical information, logistical support, grassroots community partnerships and primary needs assessments of the affected populations, focusing on the essential needs of women.

With further financial support, COHI will send two more relief teams in two stages. Funds will secure transportation and per diem for skilled professionals, the essential relief supplies that they will require, yet to be identified, and compensation for local staff.

Letter from Welikala Family
January 28, 2005

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you all for your concerns and phone calls about our family members who live in Sri Lanka. Thank God our family was spared the devastating effects of the Tsunami like being homeless or losing our loved ones. Our family does live in Colombo, Sri Lanka where the heart of the disaster has taken place. We are being called to help those in desparate need. Many organizations are helping with food and water, but shelter is the bigger need.

The Welikala family is spearheading this amazing project to build a minimum of 40 homes for 40 families. Our goal is to raise the money to build new homes for 40 very deserving families. These families have lost their family and their home or both. The best part is that 100% of your donation will go directly to the project. Major Vijitha Welikala will be overseeing the project personally in Sri Lanka. The estimated cost for one home is $5,000. We are not going fancy, we are building shelter. The U.S dollar goes a long way in Sri Lanka. Enclosed are some families with the pictures of their homes they lost. You also have the opportunity to donate directly to the family we are sponsoring.

Please make your donations to:
Welikala Sri Lanka Relief Fund
165 E. High St., Ste. 105
Moorpark, CA 93021

This is a gift donation, we do not have receipts available for tax deductions. For further information or questions you can call me at (805) 523-9825. I have a profile on each of the families we are helping. If you would like me to forward that as well, please let me know.

Despite all the chaos and disaster, my brother-in-law, Vijitha said that it has been the first time the people of Sri Lanka have been united. Your donations will keep that hope alive.

Thank you for your time,
God Bless
Dr. Angie Welikala
Dr. Mac Welikala
Anura Welikala—President of APEC, apec-plastics.com

Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Letter from Robin Lim
March 30, 2005

Sumatra Earthquake Update

Dear Jan, This is the e-mail we just received from Rowena Harvest Alcock, who is there in Aceh in our little klinik. I was in Bali, my three sons had also just returned to Bali. I was up all night trying to contact my staff to find out news of their safety and they are fine, but it has been a huge setback. The Acehnese people were just begining to believe in a future…to want to live on after the tsunami. How much more must they survive? My son Thor (17) is leaving a a day or two to help out in Nias, which has been about leveled by the quake. I will return to Aceh in a few days, or less, I pray. Had a baby girl this morning at the Bali klinik, and it's just as busy as can be in Bali for us. Keeping the Aceh klinik staffed is huge on our hearts all the time. We need prayers. Thank you to all of you all over the world who are sending prayers, love and all kinds of support to keep Aceh going. Love, Ibu Robin

Letter from Rowena Harvest Alcock
March 30, 2005

Sumatra Earthquake Update

That was a (excuse my language) #@*$ earthquake we experienced. We fired up the generator this morning to discover we had been through a 8.6 earthquake. It lasted 7 minutes where we are.

Apparently 2000 people died off of the west coast of Sumatra just south of us (I am north of meulabouh—it's on the map). I have never felt the earth move in that way. We were praying so hard. The after shocks were just as intense, and longer lasting. The after shocks being the reacction and action of the people. People ran like crazy from the new coastline. People who have just a few days previously, moved back to the devistation of what was their villiages...ran like crazy inland. We in Cot Selamat were witnessing motorcycle after motorcycle whiping by, some 4 to a scooter. Everyone was terrified for hours, some just staying put, sitting outside praying. Lots went to the mosque for refuge. One woman went there and died of a heart attack. It was very intense.

Clinic was relatively quiet this morning. A few freaked out people hanging out. One woman came in to congratulate Carolyn in treating her abdominal pain with Castor Oil packs. It is the second time someone has recovered completely from severe abdominal pain after being threatened to go to the hospital.

We will sadly be lacking supplies by the time that we leave. The drug pharmaceuticals are pretty well stocked, although we have nothing for longterm sufferers of high blood pressure, asthma and epilepsy.

What the next crew will find helpful is: acidophilus, yunnan baiyao, lots of oregano oil, tea tree oil, more 200c homeopathics (we have only 12 remedies), charcoal, homeopathic blanks, castor oil, empty glass bottles with droppers, chewable and non- vitamin C, vitamin E and B, cloxacillon, codeine, needles, pregnancy tests, thermometers, calendula tincture and salves. We also need to make up our own hydration mixes. We also need more wound care supplies. Gauze of all sized, antibacterial creme, gellonet. cotton balls, ibuprofen and lots of hydrogen peroxcide. Not everyone needed to know that, but there is a waiting list for this computer, so I am just writing one letter.

A few nights ago I did have my actual first real wonderful night's sleep. This was the night TNI was sweeping the villiage for GAM (it was a very quiet evening). I slept through the rapid gunfire to the north and south of us. Blessed sleep.

Actually some of the military guys come to hang out some times for the social hit or for treatment. I made it clear to one soldier with an ear infection he had to leave his guns (yes that is plural) at the door. They are kinda fun. In a very weird kinda way.

We have been so well received and welcomed by most of the people we see. Tomorrow we will close the clinic for the morning and get mobile, going up one or 2 villiages to treat people who lack the transporation to get to us. Should be a bit of a madhouse.

The stories are just incredible. One woman, who was 5 months pregnant at the time, decided to move after the earthquake came. I couldn't even imagine an earthquake much stronger and linger that we had last night. She remembered the old ones telling her that if there is a big quake, the big water will come.

Her and 9 other family members jumped in their boat and followed the water as it started to recede. When the Tsunami went in, they literally surfed it in their boat and were deposited 6 or so kilometers inland, their boat wedged between the crotch of a rubber tree. When the water started to recede many hours later (there were 3 waves), the boat (by then very broken) tipped and dumped them all out into the intense sludgy muck below. Someone had matches, and they lit the boat on smoulder to keep the mosquito's away.

Then there is my dear friend Yusmi, who was holding onto her 2 year old for dear life when the wave came. Her husband had her 5 year old, Nurul in his arms. They clung onto each other for the first and second wave, but the 3rd wave ripped Yusmi's baby out of her arms, and was lost. Nurul also floated away but was screaming "Help—I am the daughter of Pak Jamul, save me...") and someone did. Yusmi and her husband landed deep into the jungle, surrounded by dead bodies and body parts the whole way. Everyone who survived also were no longer clothed. Everyone was naked and covered in mud. Yusmi swore she heard Nurul crying out for her, so her husband went searching for her to appease his wife. Nurul was stuck high up in a coconut tree where someone had put her at high water. Now the water had receded and she was stuck up high, but so excited to see her dad. He was scarred she would jump out of the tree. Reunited, they spent 4 days walking out of the jungle before they got any tangible help. Yusmi's leg had been very badly injured, and when she finally got to the hospital 7 days after the tsunami, she stayed there for one month. She is still trying to heal her wound.

She still reaches out beside her to see if her baby is there. She cries every night. But she is getting better Thanks to yunnanbaiyoa and a loving team here at Bumi Sehat. Pray for her. Her story though, is not unique. Every day I get to hear of the most traumatic events that any one should not have to endure in their lives. Some old people have no young ones left; some young ones have no older family in their lives. It is tragic and yet so very beautiful at the same time. These people have such resilience, grace and humanity.

Please every one pray for these people, and tell people the suffering is far from over. There is so much yet to be done. People with chronic skin weirdness and coughs since the Tsunami…any ideas??

My tinctures are doing very well and people have been responding well to them, homeopathics and oregano oil for undefinable skin stuff (I call them WTI'S…weird Tsunami itches). Whatever was in that water was beyond not being fit for human consumption. The rebuilding is just barely beginning, most people living in scuzzy barracks or in moulding canvas tents.

The deforestation that will come out of this will be extreme. And we all know some one is making a ton of coin out of this. Corrupt government be damned. These people are so precious, but it seems thay need to be humiliated until they conform or perish. Sigh.

Anyways, love you all. I do make a little bit of effort to make these e-mails, so would love some contact that people are at least getting them. Life is not boring here.

Love you all.

Letter from Robin Lim
February 2, 2005

Aceh Midiwfery Relief Update

Dear family, loved ones,

In two days our "Mother/child survival" team will leave for Aceh. It has been a wild ride getting ready.

The direct family members going along will be Wil, Deja, Thor and myself. Other team members include Ida Tanjung, Kelly, and Oded. We will join a group of 16 sanitation (well and out-house diggers) workers from Bali.

We will travel from Medan to the West coast of Sumatra, to an area near Meulaboh, to a small area not on most maps called "Sama Tiga." There we will be setting up human resource services. My focus will be women and children (no surprise). The reports we had from this area yesterday said, "It's a lot worse than we imagined. The women are hiding, no matter how sick, hungry, pregnant or injured, they won't come out to seek medical aid, or food, or any help, as they culturally cannot have contact with male relief workers. Get over here, fast." These were the words of Christine, whose husband, Ngurah heads up the sanitation guys. Thor, by the way, will be digging those out-house holes.

"Birth buckets" are the most important things will be bringing for the expectant women. The birth buckets contain high protein foods, rehydration fluids, a sarong (remember, they lost everything in the tsunami, including 80% or more of the population), veils (Muslim women will not come out unless their heads are covered), candles, a lighter, underwear, receiving blankets, baby clothing, cloth diapers, vitamins, herbs to prevent hemorrhage and Betadine for cleaning hands where there is no water. Looking at the first buckets we made up, I cried, knowing that if I had been given one of these buckets when I was a young mother-to-be, it would have been useful, and I would have been full of gratitude.

Canadian midwife, Kelly Dunn will be traveling with me. We hope to train any health workers, surviving midwives and Dukuns (traditional medicine women), or anyone who wants to learn, in the field, on "Safe, Calm, Clean" birth and postpartum protocols. Now, in the face of such devastation, the midwifery model of care is so simple and essential.

We will be camping among the "internally displaced people," refugees of the earthquake and tsunami. Don't worry, we have tents and mosquito repellant. We will be bringing many big boxes of medicines and first aid supplies for the people there, which we will transport by truck from Medan 22 hours overland (the road is open that far now) to the outlying areas where aid is not reaching.

To all the beautiful midwives, doulas, doctors and others who have offered their help: hang on, we will better see what exactly is needed—and who will be allowed by the government here, to help. We are able to get into these areas because we are an Indonesian non-profit. Otherwise we would not be able to go. Remember Aceh is a troubled, war-torn area. Up until the tsunami hit, foreigners were absolutely not allowed in that region.

The question of orphans is impossible to assess yet. We will be bringing relief foods and simple supplies to children there as well.

Many thanks to all the people who have raised funds and sent much needed supplies—you have made it possible.

Please offer your prayers, send us your light. When you drink water, be full of gratitude. You have clean, safe water to enjoy; so many in the world do not. Water absorbs our thoughts, or feelings; let us heal the Earth's waters, and perhaps we won't see more of this kind of devastation.

OM Shanti. In Love, Ibu Robin

Letter from Heather Maurer
January 28, 2005

Help Birthing Women in Tsunami stricken Indonesia

The Birthing Women of Banda Aeche, Indonesia need your help. As you may know this area of Indonesia was at the epicenter of the earthquake on December 26, 2005 wiping out everything, leaving birthing women with little or no help to bring their babies safely into the world. Expecting moms are at high risk of tetanus, worms and other diseases and need your help.

Robin Lim, Kelly Dunn and a group of six midwives and medical professionals have flown into Banda Aeche, Indonesia to help the non-profit organization "Yayasa Bumi Sehat-Healthy Mother Earth Foundation" (more information at www.gentlebirthsbali.org/)

This non-profit is based in Bali, Indonesia and is currently helping in Banda Aeche, Indonesia to provide women, children and orphans with "birthing buckets, orphan buckets and children buckets." These buckets contain basic medical supplies for birthing women. In addition, they are teaching women how to burn the umbilical cord rather than cut it to prevent tetanus. As a not for profit organization, Healthy Mother Earth Foundation has had to rely heavily on the kindness and generosity of others without whom we would not be here today. Whilst extending their utmost gratitude to those who have already given so unselfishly of their time and resources, we would like to invite others to join this movement by making whatever contribution they can to this cause. You can do this either by making an electronic transfer to our account number or by following the guidelines in our Wish List page. Please go to www.gentlebirthsbali.org/ and click on "Make a Donation" or "Wish List."

Update from Robin Lim
January 18, 2005

Indonesian midwives have been called to find solutions for the pregnant survivors of the earthquake and Tsunami that left more than 110,000 dead in the Banda Aceh area of North Sumatra.

Reports from relief workers are that conditions are grim, especially for mothers and orphans. The grieving survivors have been left homeless, with no dependable sources of food or potable water.

Plans to implement a "Safe ~ Clean ~ Calm Birth" project are moving forward. Yayasan Bumi Sehat and Yayasan IDEP, both Bali based not-for-profit organizations are working hand in hand to bring "Birth Buckets" with supplies for expectant women and their families. The midwives will be traveling to Sumatra to help with the pregnant women and orphan situation. A high rate of miscarriage and preterm birth has also been reported. Unfortunately relief supplies of infant formula has discouraged breastfeeding and is causing problems, e.g., difficulty finding drinking water to mix with the formula, additional serious health risks for all formula fed babies.

People wishing to help must offer their prayers. Sending supplies by mail is not effective.

How to Help Aceh Aid at IDEP

The best way for people outside of Bali to help Aceh Aid and IDEP now is by making a contribution. There are various ways to do this.

  1. With a credit card, via PayPal, an internet payment system which allows you to make payments from 45 countries (not includinging Indonesia—if your credit card billing address is in Indonesia this will not work). Go to http://www.idepfoundation.org/aceh_aid.html and follow the instructions there. (Tax deductible for US taxpayers.)
  2. By check payable to "Aceh Aid / Tides Foundation" and mailed to Byron Miranda, Accounting, Tides Foundation, P.O. Box 29903, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA. (Tax deductible for US taxpayers.)
  3. By bank transfers to:
    Account Name: Yayasan IDEP
    Account Number: 034.001229576.003
    Bank: BNI (Bank Negara Indonesia), Cabang Ubud, Bali
    Bank Address: Jl. Raya Ubud, Bali - Indonesia

If you have questions, problems or interest in sponsoring particular projects, supplies, equipment, or about contributing in other ways, please contact David Mendoza at: davidacehaid@dps.centrin.net.id

Bali, Indonesia

Letter from Robin Lim, Bali
December 28, 2004

Dear Family,

We know all of you have been worried about us here in Indonesia since news of the terrible loss of life following the earthquake and [tsunami] waves. We are safe here in Bali, though sharing the grief and shock of our neighbor island's loss. Today Yayasan Bumi Sehat has an upacara/blessing ceremony. This afternoon we will be packing up medical supplies, food and clothing to send to Ache for relief efforts there. Please light a candle for the tears of the families, no one in Indonesia is untouched. Meanwhile babies continue to be born into our hands at the yayasan, a daily reminder that each soul is precious.

Om Shanti, Ibu Robin Lim" [www.gentlebirthsbali.org]

Auroville, India

Letter from Diane Smith, Auroville
January 1, 2005

Dear friends,

As you all know Auroville was home for me from 2000–03 and continues to be. While the beach side of Auroville has been devastated and evacuated since the earthquake, inland Auroville has become a relief center for Tsunami affected Aurovillians and the thousands of homeless villagers that surround the township. I'm hoping that in some way big or small, you can contribute to the Relief Fund there. I have included an attachment that provides a current report and directions on how to make donations along with (below) a letter from Bhavana whom I lived with alongside in Verite. She is the founder of Village Action and I saw her letter as further clarifying for all wanting to contribute to the Auroville Tsunami fund.

May you all be well in the New Year that sits before us.

With love and gratitude, Diane Smith

Letter from Bhavana, Auroville
January 1, 2005

Hello Friends of Village Action,

I've gotten lots of emails asking how we're doing and what we're doing in the wake of the tidal wave. Auroville itself, being high on a plateau has not been physically affected, but the villages on the beaches are devastated and their people distraught and bereft of houses and their fishing boats. Auroville Village Action Group is really happy to be working together with many many Aurovilians who are putting all their energy into providing relief to the villagers. We are part of the Auroville Tsunami Relief Team and a camp has been set up where nearly 1200 villagers are sheltered now from the second wave. Our teams are visiting the villages to assess the damage, while administrative teams are organiising communication and fundraising. There is a lot to do, and it is a challenge to which we are rising.

Thanks for your concern, and help, Instructions about how to send help are in the article, and below.

Love, Bhavana

The Auroville Tsunami Rehabilitation Effort
Press release December 30, 2004

The first wave of the Tsunami hit the Pondichery and Tamil Nadu coast at 8 AM on 26th December 2005. Seven thousand people died on the spot.

By 9.30 AM, a team from Auroville, the international township inspired by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and which is situated near Pondichery, swung into action. A first emergency meeting was called in the house of two Aurovilians and it was immediately decided to set-up a camp for the persons affected by the tidal waves. By 12 AM, eight tents and seven shamianas (awnings), donated by the children of Auroville (who use them for their annual summer camps) were erected on a field near one of the Auroville communities. Two portable 5000 liters tanks, two generators a field kitchen with four cooking ranges, eight ladies and four cooks were straight away put into service. Three of Auroville's load carriers, two tractors and two buses to pick up refugees were also commissioned. The camp was manned by more than sixty Tamil youths from the villages within Auroville, as well as many Aurovilians from all parts of the world. By 2 PM, 750 people were fed and 350 food packets distributed. All throughout the afternoon, refugees kept streaming in and another 1200 people were fed in the evening. Blankets were arranged as the night was cold and windy. On the second day, everybody was moved to the Kuilapalayam Trust School, which is run by Auroville, as rain was threatening. There, the refugees were spread out in eight buildings as well as two tents and food was prepared this time for 1400 people, along with another 500 food packets for distribution. Clothes and blankets were also handed out.

The extent of the disaster was then becoming clear. A quick survey was done amongst the villages and the Auroville communities that dot the beach. In Ganagachettikullam, a village of fishermen at the extreme limit of Pondichery state, the Auroville team was met by utter desolation: the mud houses which were the first ones on the beach front had been totally destroyed, or sometimes washed away. Broken furniture was lying on the side of the road, TVs beyond repair were nevertheless put in the sun to dry, pieces of thatched roof were blocking the road, electrical lines had fallen down, the steps leading to an old stone temple had also collapsed. Three days after the catastrophe, women were still wailing, some of them foaming at the mouth, out of sheer desolation.

On the beach, the team met Ranjani, a pretty girl of 18.

That fateful morning of the 26th, her mother and father had gone to the market to sell the fish caught in the early morning and she was left alone with her little sister of 3 years, Anusuya. was cooking the morning's meal, when suddenly her sister ran to her and clung to her shirt. Ranjani looked up and saw a huge wave advancing towards the house. "I climbed on a stool and as water reached my shoulders, I clung on a rafter from the roof with one hand, while holding my little screaming sister with the other, she recalled sobbing. After a few minutes my hands went numb and suddenly I saw that my sister had disappeared." Ranjani cried and cried for help, but nobody came. Anusuya was found dead a few hours later, one kilometer upstream in the village which has been totally flooded. 26 other people, mostly children and elderly persons, lost their lives. 75 houses were totally destroyed and 265 families affected one way or the other by the Tsunami which hit Ganagashetikkam.

Next to Ganagachettikullam, one finds Eternity, an Auroville beach community. There lives a wonderful family: Yuval the father is an Israeli, his wife Hannah is from Holland with five kids, all raised in Auroville, each of them speaking several languages. Yuval and his family moved in 20 years ago on this piece of barren land on the beach where nothing grew. With hard work and dedication, they turned it in a green forest, a place of beauty and peace. They also painstakingly built houses in the community, mostly using local material: mud walls, Palmyra leaves, thatch roofs, with one solitary high hard concrete house. On that fateful morning of the 26th, Hannah had one of her daughters with her, Jitta. Jitta has two children: a daughter of two years and a son who is barely eight months old. As usual in Auroville, where everybody sleeps early, everyone woke-up at 6 Am for an early morning tea in the community kitchen. At 6.30 AM, Yuval felt the earth shake and jokingly asked his wife "if she was dancing on the bed." At 8.15 AM, Jetta decided to put back her son to sleep on the ground floor of a house which was 200 meters away.

Everything looked so peaceful and no different than a thousand other mornings in Eternity beach community. But Suddenly Hannah heard a noise that sounded like the rushing of water. She went outside "I saw this huge wave rushing toward me and it immediately it flashed in my mind: 'Tidal Wave.'" She grabbed her granddaughter, climbed on the first floor and shouted at her daughter to go and get her son in the nearby hut. Jitta ran as the water was already swirling around her, managed to get her baby just as he was being swept away, shouted at two guest who were sleeping in another hut - and would have otherwise died - and seeing that there was no way to go back where her mother was, ran towards a higher ground on the opposite side of Eternity. After ten minutes, Yuval and Hannah saw no sign of Jitta and her son and thought they had died. "We screamed and screamed and scanned every part of the community, while water was still rising," Hannah recalls, still sobbing. When the second wave receded, they were able to find their daughter and grandchild -a-l-i-v-e-.

Today Yuval and Hannah have lost everything and are painstakingly trying to salvage some of their personal belongings, thanks to an amazing wave of solidarity amongst Aurovillians and a lot of help from the nearby village. "I put so much work in this land and God took everything back, but he spared our lives and that is a miracle," says Hannah. But like the inhabitants of Ganagachettikullam, their lives have been shattered and Hannah still breaks down from time to time when she recalls the time when she thought her daughter and grandson were both dead, taken away by the terrible Tsunami waves. By the fourth day, it became clear to Aurovillians that they had to shift from immediate relief measures to long term solutions for the affected villages.

Hemant and Jos were appointed as main coordinators.
Office and administration will be taken care by Serge, Pauline, Renu, Paul Pinton and Deep.
Financial management is coordinated by Divya, Rathinam and Alain Bernard.
Communication: Francois Gautier, Mauna, Annemarie, Renu, Claude Arpi.
Sourcing and Purchase: Mani, Sid, Boomi and Hari.
Village Coordination: Suryagandhi, Moris, Paul VC, Rathinam, Gino, Auroson, Anbu, Karuna, Francois G, Ponnuswami, Selvaraj,Peter CS, Laura, Alok.
Auroville Coordination: Dhanapal, Francis, Rolf, Bunty, Ashatit. Government Liaison: Selvaraj, Paul Vincent and the Auroville Working Committee.
An office has been opened equipped with computers, telephones and internet as well as ample storage space for goods for the next phase of the rehabilitation.

Two teams from the village Coordination group went for the first assessment of the damage to nine coastal villages around Auroville in Villupuram district. It was found that a total of approximately five hundred houses have been destroyed and 62 deaths registered. It also became clear that the first basic relief : rice, clothing and 2000Rs cash, had already been given by the Government. What people now needed is to gather their life together. Most of the villagers wanted household utensils, metal trunks, clothing, blankets and notebooks for school children. The longer term concerns were housing and fishing nets and boats for livelihood. Suryangandhi reported how grateful people felt towards Auroville for their timely help in this moment of crisis. The next steps are to build a data-base for needs of all the affected families and set-up a system of distribution. All this would need allot of men, material and money.

Transparency was ensured by creating an accounting team and channeling funds through two new created accounts in the existing Financial infrastructure of Auroville which offers tax rebate and foreign donations facility with 80G. (see below). "What we need, one of the members of the team said, is more funds that goods in kind, specially from the West, as it has been shown in the past that grain can rot in go downs, long before it is distributed and that most villagers using firewood to cook, western food stuff and utensils are often not compatible. However, blankets, tents and trunks are welcome." Another member of Auroville's Rehabilitation team emphasized: "that this is a catastrophe of unparalleled dimensions, specially after the warning of the 30 th December noon, which sent again thousands of people from the coastal area of Tamil Nadu towards higher and safer grounds. We invite the world community to extend their generous support to rebuild the shattered lives torn by natures fury." And he adds: "If we receive sufficient funds, we will not only look after the rebuilding of the 12 coastal villages we have taken charge off, but we will include all those reaching up to Marakkanam (40 kms North of Pondichery)!"

How and to what can you contribute?

Your support and contribution is more than welcome. Even small, it will help in the present tragic circumstances.

1. From India

Donations from India can come in the form of drafts or cheques in the name of Auroville Fund "Tsunami Relief"

or transferred to State Bank of India Auroville Township,
Kuilapalayam Auroville
605101 TN India
Branch Code - 03160,
account - Auroville Fund,
number - 01000013310,
description: "Tsunami Relief"

Please note that Indian donors can ask for a tax exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

2. From abroad

A. Online donations

Secure online transactions via AVI USA

Secure online transactions via AVI UK

B. Via normal mail, drafts or cheques can be sent to:

T.N. 605101

C. By bank transfer through SWIFT to:

Branch Code - 03160
Swift Code - SBININBB474
Account Number - 01000060095  
Description: "Tsunami Relief"

D. You can also contribute via your local AVI Centres in your Country and obtain tax deductions.

***Under Details please specify if you want the funds to go for the
Village Relief Work or for Auroville Beaches Relief.
***You could also give a percentage allocation
We advise you to send an email to inform us of your transfer.

Please be generous in this big crisis.

For further information, contact:

Auroville Tsunami Relief
Opposite Aurelec, Kuilapalayam
Auroville - 605101
Tamil Nadu - India
Phone: (91) 0413 2622184
Hemant: 944 3222749
Renu: 936 7601588