Thursday, April 13, 2006

After the tsunami - reconstruction work completed in Pudhupettai

Fifteen months after the tsunami, reconstruction of the South Indian village of Pudhupettai in the district of Cuddalore has been completed. At a festive ceremony, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action) and its Indian partner organisation Life Help Centre (LHC) officially handed over the village to its inhabitants on 17th March. 45 new houses, a school and a community building have been erected.

A net-mending hall and a fish-drying facility have also been created. 58 fishing families were provided with new or repaired boats and appropriate equipment. After the terrible events of the flood disaster, a degree of normality has been restored to the lives of local inhabitants.

Today, there is little evidence of the extent of devastation caused by the flood in December 2004. Fishermen resumed their work several months ago and are now able to support themselves and their families again. From 17 neighbouring villages, children meet for lessons in the newly erected school. Actively involved in the reconstruction work were the city of Bonn and the daily newspaper Bonner General-Anzeiger, which entered into a partnership with Deutsche Welthungerhilfe under the motto "Bonn helps Cuddalore".

Over 500,000 euro were raised for flood victims in numerous campaigns organised by local citizens and companies "'Bonn helps Cuddalore'" is not just a slogan that appears on banners. It is a genuine declaration of solidarity which has found its way into the hearts of the people here in Pudhupettai," claims Axel Weiser, who supervised the reconstruction project for Welthungerhilfe in Cuddalore.

At the handing-over ceremony, the inhabitants of Pudhupettai celebrated with music and a firework display. Hundreds of people came to express their joy. "It is a miracle that so much has been reconstructed in such a short time," said Gagandeep Singh Bedi, senior government official in the district of Cuddalore.

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