The rescue and relief operations undertaken by Government of Tamilnadu following the floods and tsunami:
Cuddalore experienced unprecedented floods in October and tsunami in December 2004. The damage caused by the disaster was of a great magnitude. However, the district administration initiated relief and rehabilitation operations on a war-footing.
The first thing done was to arrange for a public announcement system. This helped in streamlining the rescue and relief operations and reducing the confusion at the hospitals. A search for the dead and the injured was initiated and public information centers were also set up to provide available information. Food and water were provided to 24,000 evacuees with the help of volunteers and philanthropic agencies. The dead bodies of 618 persons were individually photographed for identification and given a mass burial. This helped in preventing out bread of diseases.
Most of the relief camps were located in wedding halls. Thirty-eight such centers were set up for the sake of refugees. With perfect co-ordination between authorities and voluntary agencies, food and water were provided to the refugees. Arrangements were made for sanitary work. Medical camps were set up. Cooked food was monitored as a precautionary measure. Syntax tanks were put up in relief centers for immediate supply of water. Immediate steps were taken to restore civic amenities like power and water supply. Also three desalination plants were set up. As many as 107 bore wells were dug and pipelines were provided to ensure water supply to all the temporary shelters. Police patrolling was arranged to prevent thefts and other untoward incidents. Control rooms were set up to ensure speedy communication of problems and solutions.
As many as 51 habitations were reduced to rubble by the floods and tsunami. Urgent cleaning was necessary to prevent epidemics. Therefore army personnel were pressed into service and within a few days mass cleaning was completed. The relief centres and villages were disinfected with bleaching powder, lime and phenyl. Community kitchens were organized to feed 7085 refuges for a month. An inventory of all donated relief materials was computerized to ensure equitable distribution. Donors were given acknowledgements. Coupon system was evolved for distribution of relief materials. Twenty-three teams of doctors did wonderful service throughout the flood affected area. Training was given to volunteers to counsel mentally traumatized people.
Agricultural land to the extent of 517.7 hectares was rendered saline. Eco-friendly technologies were used to facilitate faster reclamation. Farmers were given enhanced compensation. Dead animals were disposed of and 20,109 animals were vaccinated Traumatized children were provided parks and play therapy was given to children by trained volunteers. Special homes were opened for tsunami-affected children for their psychosocial well-being. Temporary shelters with proper amenities were put up to accommodate refugees when they returned. Thus the administration of Cuddalore undertook effective rescue and relief operations following the floods and tsunami of October and December 2004.
The health services rendered by the district administration of Cuddalore:
The district administration of Cuddalore set up thirty-eight centres for refugees. Food and water were supplied regularly. Sanitary workers were appointed to clean the places on a daily basis. Medical camps were also set up. Teams of doctors visited the camps every day. The cooked food was monitored as a precautionary measure. Villages were cleaned up to control epidemics. Dead bodies of human beings and animals were disposed of. To disinfect relief centres and the ravaged villages, bleaching powder, lime and phenyl were used. Twenty three teams of doctors did wonderful service. They treated 80,117 people with 437 people as in-patients. The doctors also gave 9373 doses of measles and polio vaccine. They further mobilized 17,000 typhoid vaccines. The medical teams organized counseling for the mentally traumatized people including children. Play therapy sessions were specially held for children. Homes were opened for tsunami orphans to provide them psychosocial well-being.