Immediate emergency relief to 2015 Tamil Nadu flood victims


TIMELINE: December 2015 to January 2016

In 2015, unprecedented floods in Tamil Nadu resulted from heavy rainfall during the annual northeast monsoon in November–December 2015. Apart from Chennai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvalur and Vilupuram were among other worst affected districts. Around 1.8 million people had been displaced. The intervention intended to provide timely emergency relief assistance (food and non-food items) to 9100 worst hit socially marginalised families in Chennai to enable them to recover sooner and sustaining local economy.


  • Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society (PMSSS)

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Food security: Food supply was ensured to in collaboration with local shops for purchase of food and other eatable items. Community kitchens provided cooked meals to all 9100 flood stranded families across the seven districts of Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Vellore and Salem. Food kit per family included 25 kg rice, 1 kg Dal, Glucose Biscuits, 1 litre cooking oil, 1 kg sugar and 1 kg salt, to address the basic nutritional needs. The food relief helped the families to sustain themselves until their livelihood resumed.

Non- Food Requirements: 9100 households have received Emergency Shelter kits comprising of floor mat and bedsheets. It was useful as households faced immediate challenges of finding a dry surface to sleep post-floods since the mud flooring of their huts were sludgy from a week of being under water. Other items included Kitchen utensils customized to local requirements. Since the people lost their clothing in the flood waters, clothing to 9100 households which included Saree and Lungi proved to be of valuable use in time of actual need.

Shelter: All 9100 families received shelter kits while 750 households also received cash transfer for house repair as per level of house damage. Emergency Shelter kits comprising floor mats and bedsheets were useful as households faced immediate challenges of finding a dry surface to rest. Households also received utensils based on their local requirements. The immediate shelter programme helped the flood victims especially the Dalits to recover from the loss of collapsed (thatched mud) housing. Conditional cash transfer and voucher method was adopted in place of the in-kind humanitarian response, which greatly empowered people economically to attend to their priorities, including repair and reconstruction of the damaged houses with built-in measures for making them flood resilient.

Sanitation: lack of toilets in the villages resulted in contamination of drinking water sources leading to risks of epidemics especially of water borne diseases. Basic hygiene items including 20litre of bucket/household and bathing soaps and sanitary napkins for daily hygiene purposes were provided, to prevent outbreak of diseases on account of ill-sanitation.

The beneficiaries were informed of the cash transfers through the staff and Grama Sangam leaders who closely monitored the disbursements and utility of funds. The beneficiaries organized themselves in groups and obtained materials and constructed their homes by helping each other. The joint initiatives by the small groups helped the beneficiaries to negotiate the cost of materials, reduced transportation cost and collective work nature and uniformity in house construction etc.