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Subhashini Sridhar Felicitated for Tsunami Relief Work

Subhashini Sridhar of CIKS Sirkazhi was felicitated by the Rotary Club on the occasion of International Women's Day, for her outstanding contribution to the Tsunami relief effort in the area.

The Tsunami which hit the East Coast of India on 26th December has left in its wake a devastating trail of death, disruption and dislocation. Ever since that fateful weekend, at the centre we have been deluged by emails and phone calls from friends and well wishers in various parts of India and abroad with anxious enquiries for our safety and offers for help with money, material and volunteers. As an immediate measure CIKS decided to take up some short term relief work in the districts of Kancheepuram where we have our experimental farm and field office and Nagapattinam where we have a field office in the town of Sirkazhi.

Currently the activities that have been taken up by our Centre are of the following nature –

The CIKS staff are involved in collecting data in affected areas to identify the needs of tsunami victims.

• Collection of material that is required for immediate relief in the relief camps that have been set up such as food and clothing
• Certain immediate follow up measures to assist families who are now being rehabilitated either in temporary shelters or in their own villages by arranging for basic kitchenware and provisions to help them get started.
• Coordinating with individuals and groups from outside Tamilnadu who are offering help and directing them to suitable spots and agencies where help is required.
• In the Nagapattinam districts we are coordinating with certain relief agencies to identify specific villages in areas where particular needs have been felt as well as carrying out surveys in the affected areas to identify the nature of the need and to assist in the preparation of proposals and request for relief.

It is seen that there is also likely to be some impact of a long term nature on coastal agricultural activities due to reasons such as incursion of salt water in some farming areas and we are currently engaged in a preliminary assessment of this situation. We have also been approached by the Science and Society Division of the Department of Science and Technology which is planning to launch integrated multi sector projects for areas that have been hit by the Tsunami, to participate in their effort.

Soil restoration work in affected areas

Soil testing, soil profile study and detailed survey work have been undertaken in Nagapattinam district. Preliminary experiments were conducted to test the performance of indigenous paddy varieties in tsunami affected soil. Our staff also visited the ADACERT saline soil research centre at Trichy to discuss soil reclamation technologies.

In Koozhaiyar village (Sirkazhi taluk) a farmer’s meeting was conducted to assess the farmers needs. Soil testing and soil mapping of the affected area was done with help from scientists in Annamalai Agricultural University. Experiments are on to assess the performance of different rice varieties, vegetable varieties and groundnut varieties in the tsunami affected land.

About a hundred shelters such as these have been built and allotted to families in Pudukuppam, near Sirkazhi.   CIKS has been involved in collection and distribution of materials and supplies to tsunami-hit families.