Following the havoc wreaked by Cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu during November last year, several people lost their homes and property. Rotary rose to the occasion and provided succor to the flood victims in the affected areas.
One such group of beneficiaries were the 41 families in a non-descript hamlet, Nettodai, in Thanjavur district for whom RC Ramnad Royals, RID 3212, sponsored houses. “As we were passing through this village on our way to Adhiramapatinam where we planned to distribute groceries to the flood affected people, we were shocked to see the broken homes on either side of a canal and we stopped over to assess the extent of the damage and how we can help the people,” says Club member N Karthikeyan.
The Rotarians distributed the provisions to the villagers in Nettodai and nearby hamlets and got together to work out the modalities to restore the lives of these people. They publicised their intention to construct houses for the villagers extensively on social media and soon donations started pouring in. IPDG Chinnadurai Abdullah who was the first to contribute for the cause inaugurated the new houses on Jan 1, along with Ponraj, the Scientific Advisor to former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam. Solar lamps were also erected in the villages and “every donation of kind-hearted people has been transformed into groceries, blankets, candles, water bottles, clothes, roof tiles, scaffoldings and other essential things for the rehabilitation of 775 families in the affected villages around Thanjavur,” says Club President Somasundaram.
Disaster management is not new to the Rotarians, he says, recalling the extensive relief work the club executed, including building 23 houses in a village near Cuddalore, in the aftermath of the 2015 cyclone.
More recently, the club constructed 36 more homes with help from the Tamil Sangam of Carolina in the US and the Abdul Kalam Vision India Movement.