Rebuilding Structures, Lives of India Tsunami Victims

The Church of North India is continuing to provide large-scale, environment-oriented relief efforts in southeast India, eight months after a quake-triggered tsunami devastated the area.

Over 150,000 people in 14 countries reportedly died after water flooded the region on Dec. 26. More than 10,000 deaths alone were reported in India, where the communities are still recovering from the long lasting effects of the incident.

According to the Council for World Mission (CWM), CNI is currently focusing their relief efforts on the hardest hit areas of India, including the Car Nicobar Island. Restitution of churches and schools are receiving attention first, while economic recovery plans are also being pursued in the hopes of providing lasting solution to the reoccurring problems.

CWM also reports that the rehabilitation network is being built in the 15 villages on the island, where 95 percent of the population is part of the CNI. Delegations from each village receive field-specific training from the organization and its team of 100 members. The objective of the network is to foster self-teaching, self-supporting foundations in each village.

Furthermore, the CNI is tending to the specific needs of culture and environment in the region.

The Indian government originally proposed concrete structures to be built in the villages, however, CNI hired architects who will use the local natural resources to design ecologically friendly buildings, made mostly out of wood, reports CWM. Over 16,000 metric tons of building materials such as river sand has been sent from mainland India for reconstruction purposes.

“Our priority is not mere reconstruction. We are rebuilding people’s lives and so we have to ensure that everything we do will benefit our people,” said Sudipta Singh, coordinator for the CNI rehabilitation work.

Other organizations heavily involved in the relief effort of India including CARE, Catholic Relief Services, and Project Concern International.