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Tamil Nadu Floods: For marginalised communities, recovery will be hardest, says ActionAid India

The urban homeless, slum dwellers, fishing communities and tribal communities in Cuddalore, Thiruvallur, Tuticorin and Chennai City areas need immediate and long term help. 

With heavy downpour wrecking havoc in several parts of Tamil Nadu, ActionAid India has begun its emergency response efforts with a focus to reach out to thousands of vulnerable communities in Chennai city, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur and Tuticorin - the regions that were severely affected by the incessant rains and flooding that has already claimed nearly 269 lives. 
 
Our team is already on the ground, to provide immediate relief to atleast 6000 families in our operational areas.

The priority is to reach the most vulnerable communities – daily wage workers, fishing communities, tribal and Dalit communities along the coastlines. In Chennai city our immediate attention will be to help people who were already homeless,  people living in slums and the urban poor. Emphasis is to reach out to women, girls, children and elderly in these areas. 

“These are people who were already vulnerable and surviving on paltry daily wages. They are now without homes and without work. Their recovery will be the hardest”, says Sehjo Singh, Director, Programme and Policy at ActionAid India.

Ravi SK, currently heading Tamil Nadu operations said,“Tribal communities such as Irulas who were already excluded socially and economically, need urgent attention too. The impact of the floods on such communities is long term. Salt-pan workers, single women who were already living in extreme poverty in places like Cuddalore must be given special attention, as their vulnerabilities have multiplied here. Our priority is to reach the unreached, at this point”

 “ActionAid India and its partners have a decade long experience of responding to disasters in Tamil Nadu. Our experience in post-Tsunami recovery efforts, widely recognized for its ability to reach the most marginalised will help us here, particularly in building community women’s leadership during the recovery phase.”, added Sehjo Singh.  
 
The relief and recovery needs on the ground point to a longer list – comprising of food and ration supplies, tarpaulins, blankets, shelter support, first aid kits, hygiene kits for women and girls, drinking water provisions and provisions for pregnant mothers and young children. Help is also needed to rebuild lost livelihoods of people, such as fishing nets, fishing boats and damaged crops. 

“It is a mammoth task ahead. But the people of Tamil Nadu had shown incredible resilience when faced with a mammoth Tsunami a decade ago. It is that spirit that will keep us all going”, Sehjo added. 

Sehjo Singh and Ravi SK are right now in Delhi and available for interviews.

For queries please write to abhilash.babu@actionaid.org or call +91 9717250202 

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