Though it is impossible to conquer nature, yet human beings have withstood the challenges thrown by nature from time to time. Natural disasters leave behind large-scale destruction and thousands of bereaved persons. But slowly people pick up the bits of pieces and life moves on. Every time, a disaster strikes, human solidarity is tested. The December 26 tsunami tragedy is perhaps the worst natural disaster to have occurred in living memory. Once again it has thrown human species under the test or trial of survival. The tragedy has invoked instant response from all: government bodies, non-government organisations, celebrities, corporates and international organisation. Everyone has responded admirably and effort of everyone is encouraging.
What is special about this tsunami is the geographical extent of the devastation and the number of countries affected. The damage stretches across thousands of miles and involves millions of people. That produces a huge logistical challenge for international organisations and aid agencies: how to get relief supplies and, later, reconstruction assistance to so many places at more or less the same time. Though the road to recovery is full of obstacles, let us take a pause and take a deeper look into what these international organisations are doing for tsunami victims and what is in their agenda.
There are numerous websites that have listed organizations involved in relief operations. Some of these are:
Relief work in progress
As it is impossible to highlight the work of each and every organisation, we have highlighted few which are reputed and have the experience of delivering in the past and have a long-term vision.
CARE is helping in relief work in all the affected countries. CARE India has dispatched a 15-person rapid assessment team to the city of Chennai on India's southeast coast. It is distributing water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts, clothing and plastic sheeting to people in the hard-hit coastal areas. (www.careindia.org) In Indonesia it is distributing around 100,000 safe water system bottles, each of which can provide safe drinking water for a family for at least one month (one to two caps of chlorine solution disinfects 20 litres). The goal is to provide this monthly for a six-month period. CARE Sri Lanka is distributing aid to six main areas of Jaffna, Mullaitivu (north), Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Ampara (east) and Hambantota (south). Another major need identified is transport, and CARE is also assisting with the transport of relief goods. In Thailand, its teams are working in the hardest hit southern provinces of Pang Nga, Krabi, Ranong, Phuket and Trang. CARE teams are supplying medicines and first aid kits, oral rehydration packets, water, blankets, clothing and other emergency items.
International Relief Teams (IRT)
International Relief Teams is international relief organisation dedicated to organising volunteer teams to provide medical and non-medical assistance to the victims of disaster and profound poverty worldwide.
There is an overwhelming response to the tsunami tragedy from corporates. Companies across the world are contributing for the victims.
Pfizer Inc has donated $10 million in cash and $25 million in drugs to relief agencies, Coca-Cola Company has donated $10 million in cash. Besides these global giants, other companies also have contribute in a massive way.
Indian corporate sector also has shared the responsibility and is sparing no effort to accelerate the pace of recovery. Never before have companies contributed on such a large scale. The donations from India Inc are still flowing for the victims of Tsunami. Sify has collected Rupees 10 million. We have focused on ICT related corporations.
It announced measures to aid the relief and rehabilitation programme for the victims of Tsunami disaster in different parts of the country which include setting up of Airtel mobile and VSAT network in Andaman and Nicobar Island by 31 March, 2005 besides setting up of several communication centres near hospitals, police stations, temporary shelters and other public places along the coastal belt of Tamilnadu. It has set up communication centres and provided over 100 handsets for volunteers.
India's second largest software maker has announced a contribution of Rs 50 million to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
TCS has started collecting clothes, medicine, and essential items. The company is also trying to identify volunteer groups with which TCS can associate itself.
The business entities of DHL including Express, Danzas Air & Ocean and Solutions combined have raised and contributed more than EUR 350,000 in relief activities, including flight charters, monetary donations, and contributions in -kind to the tsunami disaster. One of the most significant relief activities that DHL has embarked on is the flight charters that it has committed in response to requests by governments in affected countries, and international aid agencies to help in the uplift of relief supplies. Other relief activities that DHL has undertaken so far include: Mobilisation of its Global Disaster Resource Network team to affected countries, on-site assistance in transportation, distribution and logistics support in affected areas, the purchase and distribution of relief supplies such as food, tents, blankets and stoves, etc.
IRT has made a commitment to send a substantial shipment of medicines
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