Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan
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EARRS Documentation Reports February 26a  (26th Feb 2001)

Relief Camp For the Earthquake Affected by The Narmada Bachao Andolan, at Balasar, Taluka Rapar, District Kutch
 February 16, 2001

Suggestions and Recommendations

 A. Related to Housing

1. The destruction of houses is almost 100% in the area where we worked, and people are still sleeping out in the open. There is still need for proper tents / tarpaulin.

2. The reconstruction of housing would have to be in three stages : Immediate Relief (Tents, tarpaulin), intermediate stage - transitory shelters, which can see the people through the grueling summer and monsoon, and finally permanent or final houses.

3. The tents / tarpaulin being given under the first stage of relief are inadequate for the people, given the size of the family, need for storage of grains, household goods, cattle etc.

4. All people are concerned about the proper (transitory) housing for the summer and monsoon as the tents / tarpaulin will not be adequate at all for this. People are also worried about unseasonal rains which would affect them badly.

5. People are not prepared to construct their final houses for at least the next six months or so, as they are afraid of the earthquake striking again, with the continuing tremors in the area. They also do not have the financial resources for the same. Since any kind of permanent housing will take time, there is need for proper transit housing.

6. There is a need for proper planning, and holistic approach for the reconstruction of the village, permanent housing and the infrastructure amenities. Reconstruction should make full use of local material, local labour input and address the needs of the people. It can form a critical part of the "food for work" type of program so that people's needs of food grains are met without any "relief".

7. The issue of whether to relocate the village or to reconstruct it at the same time is a very sensitive issue and must be decided only with the extensive consultation of the villagers.

8. Where new earthquake resistant materials and techniques are being introduced (as will be necessary) this should be done through a process fully involving the people and through proper education.

 B. Related to Relief

9. Health services are inadequate or absent in most of the villages in this area. As people have to stay out in the open, they, especially the children and elderly are being affected. There is a need for extending health services to all villages. There is also a need for trauma care and counseling.

10. The structure established by Balasar Camp for the distribution effort should be strengthened and this should form the medium for all further relief and reconstruction efforts.

11. The people of the area are now desirous that further relief should not in the form of "relief" but rather in form of employment ("rahaat nahin, rojgaar" is what people are saying) since they too are seeing the tendencies of dependency and begging which relief is creating in some pockets. Further process of relief and reconstruction should be decided with the full participation of the people.

12. The area has been facing drought for last two years. Relief should be decided keeping in view the entire situation and not just earthquake.

C. Policy Level Issues

13. The whole process of reconstruction and rehabilitation should be fully and properly integrated into and linked with the larger development plans of the area otherwise the focus will remain on the reconstruction and this will result in a one sided process.

14. The situation is vastly different in different parts of Kutch stretching from Bhuj to Rapar, and hence the approaches and needs will be different. 15. A large number of migrant workers (those who had gone from Kutch to Mumbai, Surat etc.) have returned back to Kutch after the earthquake and hence proper employment opportunities should be provided to these people also.

16. The compensation for the loss of life and property should be determined in an open and transparent way and with the role of the village committees.

17. A number of industries, agencies, organisations have "adopted" villages. There needs to be a proper framework to specify what "adoption" exactly means and the responsibilities of those adopting villages. Those adopting the villages should be directed to function with the guidance of the village committees.

18. Various NGOs and voluntary organisations can play a critical role in the reconstruction efforts and this should be recognised and appropriate space created for them.