Tsunami Relief Projects

In December 2004 the coastal areas of Kerala, particularly the southern belt was hit hard by the Tsunami waves. Many lives were lost, lot more were thrown to long lasting sufferings due to injuries, loss of their belongings and devastation of the neighbourhood. WMC volunteers from Kerala province was on the scene to provide immediate relief activities. WMC-Swiss province mobilised funds from its members and other sympathisers to provide relief to the survivors.

Identification of the project:

The relief-funds generated through the generous contributions could not be disbursed immediately to the affected people /areas due to various regulations & restrictions prevalent at that time for Tsunami relief. WMC-Swiss Province constituted a sub-committee to study and identify a project which would at least bring some solace to the grievances of those suffered from Tsunami waves. Many projects were evaluated and the team has finalised on the request made by ‘’CRHPC-Chellanom Rainwater Harvesting Project Committee’’, to build ‘rainwater harvesting plants’ in Tsunami hit village of Chellanom near Kochi.
Water is one of the basic needs of Human beings. The main concern of the poor people living along the coastline of Kerala is ‘drinking water’. The shortage of water has been gravely aggravated by Tsunami which has made the soil of Chellanom-panchayath even more saline. Not to say that the ground water has become saline, it is much more contaminated by natural and human made wastes. Rainwater has been pitched as an easy solution to meet this drinking water crisis, which brought forwards the following project:

Rainwater Harvesting Plants

Water harvesting means to understand the value of rain, and to make optimum use of the rainwater at the place where it falls. It means capturing rain where it falls and taking measures to keep that water clean by not allowing polluting activities to take place in the catchment. Catchment, conveyance system and filtration-all of which are integral to a rainwater harvesting system.
In Chellanom the catchment is typically water runoff from roof top through a pipe system and conveyed into a tank, where it goes through a filtration unit and stored in a terrestrial tank. Typical capacity of such a tank is 5000 liters, which would meet the drinking water needs of a 5head family for at least 1 month. Considering the rainfall averages in this area, the tank will constantly get filled and would sufficiently serve the year round requirement of a family.

Project team:

The project team consists of the Chellanom Rainwater Harvesting Project Committee (CRHPC) and officials of the WMC-Swiss province. The members of CRHPC are primarily District Panchayath Member, Panchayath President, Panchayath Member, a Social Worker and a Priest from the local Parish church. WMC-Swiss Province is represented by the Chairman, President, Secretary and the treasurer. WMC- Swiss Province has authorized a coordinator for the proper streamlining of this project with the counterparts in Chellanom.

Construction of plants:

The construction of the plants will be carried out by ‘Welfare Services-Ernakulam’ who will guarantee the functionality of the plants for a period of 2 years. CRHPC will supervise the activities and monitor the timelines and report the progress to WMC-Swiss coordinator. CRHPC also undertakes proper awareness classes to the beneficiaries for the proper usage of the plants. Proper usage and maintenance guarantees a trouble free operation of the plants for at least 30 years.

Important Milestones:

July 2005 WMC-Swiss Province authorized a sub-committee for the selection of the relief project.
October 2005 Sub-committee proposed the project to construct ‘Rainwater harvesting plants’ in Chellanom
March 2006 A MOU is signed between the WMC-Swiss Province and CRHPC. The construction of the plants will be carried out by ‘Welfare Services-Ernakulam’
August 2006 WMC-Swiss delegates visited the project sites. CRHPC finalized the beneficiaries list and the list is approved by WMC-Swiss
October 2006 14 (out of 30) plants are fully constructed.
January 2007 First batch of tanks handed over to the beneficiaries for usage.
March 2007 WMC-Swiss decided to aid for 3 more plants, taking advantage of exchage rates received.
May 2007 The rest of the 30 plants completed.
July 21, 2007 Official handing over ceremony. All 30 plants and the additional 3 plants were officially handed over to the beneficiaries. The handing over ceremony was attended by K. Babu – MLA, Mr. Leenus – Jilla Panchyat member, Rejendran – Panchayat President, other local dignitaries together with Swiss Province office bearers.

WMC-Swiss province express sincere thanks to all those generously contributed to the Tsunami relief fund and guarantee that the sponsorship is channelised and utilized for the right cause of its objective.

Reported for WMC-Swiss Province,
Thomas Boban - Coordinator, Tsunami Relief Project.

George Nambuseril – President, WMC Swiss Province 30.07.2007