26th December, 2004, the morning after Christmas. Little did the people of Andaman Islands realise that the tremors they felt were from a massive earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia. The tsunami that followed consumed every little sign of civilization, along with several thousands of lives.
How we helped
SEEDS responded with humanitarian relief within 60 hours in Port Blair, extending to south and Little Andaman in the subsequent weeks. Apart from basic amenities like food, clothing and essential medicines, a community kitchen was established in the fishing colony of Jungleeghat.
Transitional shelters were constructed for 354 families in Hutbay within 8 weeks. The initiative was primarily led by the SEEDS Mason Association (SMA) – a group of trained construction workers who themselves had been affected by the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. SEEDS continued to improve living conditions in the housing colony by building a community centre and improving the drainage conditions in the locality.
Later on, SEEDS introduced a unique micro-credit programme to help locals resume their livelihoods. This programme was cited as a ‘good practice’ in UN Special Envoy Bill Clinton’s report on tsunami recovery.
Leaving a mark
SEEDS has been present in the Andaman Islands ever since, working with the local government and partners to educate schools and communities on disaster prevention.