The alarming rise in the incidence of man-made and natural disasters has brought the effects of industrial pollution and climate change to headlines everywhere. South India is no exception.
Isha proved its capacity for rapid intervention by responding to the 2004 tsunami within hours; providing medical care, immunization and distribution of food and non-food items. Isha’s relief work included reconstruction of homes specially designed to withstand cyclones and flooding and community psychosocial support through yoga, games and planting of 5,000 tree saplings in memory of victims.
In November 2009, torrential rains in the Nilgiris District triggered a slurry of mud and debris in the mountain village of Naduhatti that damaged 76 homes and left 171 families without water and electricity. Finding residents in a state of panic, Isha offered traditional psychosocial assistance through Aum chanting and weekly focus group discussions. Isha’s presence, publicized by the local news media, helped to mobilize the surrounding 144 villages to collect donations and send 337 local volunteers and 630 students from four schools to join Isha in cleaning, repairing and rebuilding homes.
As an extension of its community development programmes, Isha Outreach commits resources to support populations to mitigate the crisis and re-establish their livelihoods. Per the location and the nature of the crisis, the range of needs and the degree of response on the part of other humanitarian actors, Isha intervenes through:
- Emergency medical care
- Immunization for victims and the relief workers (NGO, government)
- Improvement of the quality of local health care/health structures (training equipment, rehabilitation)
- Psychosocial and community social support activities (community games, for adults and youth, children and youth clubs, discussion groups, yoga, etc.)
- Shelter construction—temporary with simple materials or permanent (reconstruction)
- Water (storage, distribution, well equipment, chlorination)
- Sanitation (latrine construction, rainwater and wastewater drainage, solid waste management)
- Hygiene promotion
- Distribution of first necessity products (hygiene kits, nutritional supplements, blankets, mattresses…)
- Other interventions based on the need and the availability of resources