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  Archives » Prime Minister's Fund
Assistance for Rehabilitation of Rural Artisan/Agriculturists in
the Earthquake Affected Areas of Gujarat
 
Progress Report April to July 2001
 
 
 

The districts of Kutch, Surendranagar and Patan have been experiencing successive disasters: two consecutive drought years of 1999 – 2000 and 2000-01 and the devastating earthquake that hit Gujarat on 26th January 2001.

SEWA has its membership base in these three districts. During the drought of 2000-01, SEWA with support from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund through the Government of Gujarat, had launched craft as drought relief activity. About 1500 families were provided alternative employment for about 150 days through their traditional craft skill. It generated an employment of 3,60,000 mandays with each family earning about Rs. 1500/- Rs. 1700/- per month. As a result, children continued to go to school, drought relief actually reached the people, and the entire operation led to building women’s capacities. Disaster became a Development activity.

The second successive drought was still looming over these families, when they became the victims of the devastating earthquake experienced on 26th January 2001.

   
 

The first hand reports of SEWA’s field teams show extensive damage to houses, school buildings, panchayat buildings, milk collection centres, community centres and child care centres.

The houses have been completely damaged. As a result, most of the household belongings have also been lost. For example, the villagers stored food grains and seeds in mud pots and mud containers. These have been destroyed and therefore neither the food grains nor the seeds could be restored.

Similarly, all the clothes and mattresses got buried under the debris. Attempts to restore them turned futile as they tear and get further damaged.

Therefore the families are rendered virtually homeless/ shelterless, foodless and clothing less.

   
 

Due to the earthquake most of the water resources including common resources such as ponds, wells, check dam and household resources such as roof rain water storage tanks have all been damaged.

Furthermore, the families suffered damages and losses to their assets, tools and equipments.

The salt pans in the deserts have been badly damaged. The salt crystallisation has also been damaged. This resulted in heavy losses to the salt farmers. The entire saltpans will have to be rebuilt as early as possible. Any delay will lead to failure of salt crystallisation and failure of salt production.

Not only the salt pans, but also the brine wells in the deserts, have caved in along with the pump sets used to pump out brine.

   
 

Hence, these wells need to be redug immediately. The diesel pump sets also need to be replaced.

More than 60,000 of SEWA’s members – the poorest of the poor families in the villages were adversely affected.

SEWA, through its field teams of organisors and workers, immediately plunged into relief and rehabilitation work in the affected villages. In total 161 villages in three districts were covered.

When SEWA’s relief teams reached the villages with relief supplies, the families asked for work. The affected village families wanted work and income to rebuild their own lives. Therefore, SEWA immediately launched livelihood security – as an immediate or emergency rehabilitation measure along with relief. The following activities/livelihood security programmes were launched, based on (a) local skills (b) traditional occupations and (c) local available resources or asset base.

   
 
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Craft work as means of livelihood security programme
-
Salt Farming
-
Fodder Security System
-
Restoration and Repair of Water Harvesting Structure
-
Support to Small and Marginal Farmers
   
 

However, the demand for work was huge. Therefore, SEWA asked to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for support for economic rehabilitation of the affected families in the three districts of Kutch, Surendranagar and Patan.

The following activities have been implemented with the support from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund since April 2001. The activities are being implemented by the local district Associations and the local people’s own organizations, namely :

  1. Banaskantha DWCRA Mahila SEWA Association
  2. Surendranagar Mahila and Balvikas Mandal
  3. Kutch Craft Association
  So far more than 13,000 families have been covered under the following activities.
 
-
Craft work as means of livelihood security programme
-
Salt Farming
-
Fodder Security System
-
Restoration and Repair of Water Harvesting Structure
-
Support to Small and Marginal Farmers
   
 
  Note:
   
  BDMSA is a local women’s organizations at the village level groups under the government’s development of women and children in rural areas DWCRA group. BDMSA strengthen economic activities. These has led to the empowerment of women.
   
  Surendranagar Mahila and Balvikas Mandal is a district association of women’s salt workers. The integrated development of salt worker is the main aim of the SMBVM. In order to led to provide them full employment and self reliance, the SMBVM has been formed.
   
  Kutch Craft Association is a district level federation of village level groups. The Association has been registered under the society registration and public trust act 1950.
   
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Self Employed Women's Association
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Phone : 91-79-25506444 / 25506477 / 25506441, Fax : 91 - 79 - 25506446, Email :mail@sewa.org
     
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