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MasterCard partners with ActionAid India, pledging USD 150,000 to Tamil Nadu Flood Relief Work

MasterCard is partnering with ActionAid India to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of flood affected communities in the coastal district of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.

More than 8,800 people, most of whom are engaged in salt pan work and daily wage-work, will be provided with vital relief items, including shelter, food and dignity kits and income support. It will also support communities to recover and rebuild their homes and livelihoods, which have been devastated by the floods.

This project builds on the partnership established between MasterCard and ActionAid India in July 2015, when MasterCard partnered with ActionAid to provide relief to drought and flood affected communities in six states in India.

Ari Sarker, Co-President for Asia Pacific, MasterCard, says: “As the flood waters recede in Tamil Nadu, people urgently need help to rebuild their lives. MasterCard is partnering with ActionAid to provide support, including food and shelter, to some of the worst affected and most vulnerable communities in the area. Extreme weather events have had a devastating impact in India this year. The drought, which swept through the country this summer, led to MasterCard’s first partnership with ActionAid, and now we are aiding relief efforts in response to massive flooding. We have worked in India for many years and are committed to supporting and empowering the country as it grows in the face of such challenges.”

Tamil Nadu has an estimated 40,000 workers engaged in salt pan work, nearly 60% of them being women. The onslaught of the rains and flooding has further exacerbated their situation as many have lost their belongings, housing and livelihoods. Salt pan workers face extremely harsh working conditions - toiling in extreme heat using an extraction technique unchanged in centuries. Due to the harsh working conditions and poor social protection, many workers suffer from serious work-related health problems, including eye damage and skin lesions. Little formal protection is afforded to these workers, often resulting in socio-economic deprivation and exploitation.

Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid India says, “It is very encouraging to see MasterCard coming forward to reach out to communities, who are most vulnerable in the event of a disaster. Salt-Pan Workers and daily wage workers in the region survive on paltry incomes and with little or no social protection. A disaster of any kind, natural or human-made, can take them back by decades, leaving them with a long and hard road to recovery. For instance, our team on the ground informs us that in four villages of Thoothukudi, the water levels are not likely to recede anytime soon, postponing the resumption of salt-pan work by at least two months. Flood water has also damaged the salt evaporation ponds, created to hold water, which means that these have to be rebuilt as well. More than 250 houses, of mud walls and thatched roofs have been either completely or partially damaged.”

People enaged in salt-panning in the areas that ActionAid work in are largely from Arundhatiyar communities, considered to be one of the most vulnerable among Dalit groups in India. They face discrimination on a daily basis and often live in miserable conditions, frequently working as manual scavengers, sanitary workers, daily wage earners, agricultural labourers, or in other menial jobs. “Special emphasis will be put on reaching out to women, children and the elderly in these communities”, Sandeep added.

ActionAid has been working with communities in Tamil Nadu for several years and is responding on the ground to provide immediate relief to the worst affected communities. With support from MasterCard, we will be able to ensure that at least 8,800 more people are supported to cope with the impact of the floods and to re-build their lives. The project will run from December 2015 to April 2016 and in addition to the USD150,000 already pledged, MasterCard will also be matching employee donations to ActionAid to support rebuilding efforts.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardAP and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

About ActionAid

ActionAid is a global movement of people working together in over 40 countries to achieve greater human rights for all and defeat poverty. We believe people in poverty have the power within them to create change for themselves, their families and communities. ActionAid is a catalyst for that change.

ActionAid India is part of the ActionAid global Federation. Established in 1972, ActionAid India helps over 8 million of the country’s poorest and most disadvantaged people in 25 states and one Union Territory in India. We partner with nearly 250 community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, and alliances to collectively address poverty with a strong focus on women's leadership.

ActionAid India, with help from its local partners, is currently responding in four districts of Tamil Nadu, in the aftermath of the 2015 floods. Its relief operations were already underway in November, in the districts of Cuddalore, Thiruvallur, Tuticorin and Chennai, when the second bout of rains worsened the situation in early December.

Media Contacts

Georgette Tan, MasterCard, georgette_tan@mastercard.com, +65 6390 5971

Georgina Mallory, Weber Shandwick, gmallory@webershandwick.com, +65 6825 8026

Abhilash Babu, ActionAid India, Abhilash.babu@actionaid.org, +91 9717 250202

Paul Dyett, ActionAid International, Paul.Dyett@ationaid.org +44 (0)203 122 0766

For interviews contact:

Harjeet Singh,
ActionAid’s Climate Policy Manager, based in Delhi.
Mobile: +91 98100 36864

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