Campbell Bay (Caritas News) -- A team of European Commission officials visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to assess the shelter-livelihood programmes that Caritas India is executing in the tsunami ravaged villages.
Shelter-livelihood to the fisher folk and psycho-social support have been the three vital components of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid partnership support with Caritas Network. The team members included: Mr. Aftab from European Commission, Mr. Rainer Hoechst, resident facilitator from Caritas Germany, Mr. Ranjit, Programme Officer of Caritas India, Fr. Johnson, Asst. Director of ACANI, Sr. Annamma, Programme Coordinator – Psycho-Social Support. Fr. Tarcisius Kujir is the local coordinator of the programme along with the 40 staff joined the deliberations with the visiting team. The team visited the intermediate shelter sites at Rajiv Nagar and Behind PHC where about 750 families have been provided transitional homes. 25 wooden boats have been provided to the fisher folk families – under Rajiv Gandhi Rehabilitation Package – implemented in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The shelters are at the level of satisfaction in terms of flooring, extension roofing, home-gardens, etc. which were not strictly part of the partnership project. However, Caritas with ACANI and CRS provided these extra inputs. Poultry farming, goat rearing, tailoring, and carpentry are also initiated in collaboration with the directorate of industries of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Each family who has been provided the fishing boat and nets, are able to earn approx. Rs. 6,000 – 7,000 per month. Psycho-social support is extended to the families by the 10 primary health workers, who are also trained in the handling trauma and other disorders. About 600 persons are reached out through this service. Besides the devastation of tsunami, the communities are also traumatized by other psycho-social factors, such as inhibiting cultural taboos, etc. The signs of return of normalcy are visible in most of the families. Water, sanitation, drainage and footpaths need to be improved through sustained educational strategy and rainwater harvesting systems need to be put in place. The European Commission team was very satisfied with the implementation and progress of livelihood opportunities gained by the community. The quality of the shelters construction as well as the livelihood and psycho-social support has been appreciated by the team.