The tsunami killed over 6,000 people and affected some 200,000 people in India’s Nagapattinam district alone. With thousands to shelter and feed amidst the threat of an epidemic, local officials set out to coordinate aid and save lives.
A week after the tsunami, water and electricity was restored, law and order was maintained, and the threat of an outbreak of disease had disappeared.
• State politicians and government officials took charge of relief operations
• Eleven teams handled all aspects of relief from mass burials and cash grants to health and sanitation
• The teams decided their actions on the spot as each had adequate funds to move into action
Officials in Nagapattinam say there are many lessons to learn from this experience. For example, maps with the names of all providers of relief services would be useful in major emergencies. These lessons are now being codified.