The world’s fifth largest earthquake in a century hit Southern Asia on 26th December 2004 unleashing a tsunami that crashed into Sri Lanka, India and a few other neighboring countries. By the end of the day more than 150000 people were dead or missing and millions homeless, making it perhaps the most destructive tsunami in history.

The Tsunami, in its wake, left widespread damage of infrastructure, shortages of food and water, and economic damage. The impact on coastal fishing communities and fisherfolk, some of the poorest people in the region was devastating with high losses of income-earners, boats and fishing gear.

Bharat Sevashram Sangha immediately responded by mobilizing its workforce dispatching volunteers to Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.


Tamil Nadu, India

The state of Tamil Nadu as the worst affected with a death toll of 7,793. Districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Chennai were amongst the worst hit. The Sangha was one of the first to begin massive relief operations.

Cooked food was distributed continuously to more than 5000 tsunami affected people for a week through our Free Food Program. Basic cooking ingredients such as groceries, pulses, rice and other supplies were also handled out. Clothing, blankets, baby food, polythene sheets and medical supplies were disbursed to marooned districts.

The tsunami swept away a large number of houses leaving a vast majority of families in temporary shelters or camps. The Sangha launched a rehabilitation drive by volunteering to help rebuild houses. More than 150 houses were constructed at Sonankuppam village in Cuddaloer. Mechanised boats and fishing nets were also distributed to local fisherfolk.


Andaman & Nicobar Islands

About 1900 islanders were confirmed dead from a population of some 400000 in the aftermath of the tsunami. The islands, only 100 km or so from the epicenter, suffered extensive destruction on the southern cluster from Car Nicobar to Indira Point. 

The Sangha faced the daunting task of repairing the lives and property of ten of thousands of people and monitoring relief and rehabilitation measures. Volunteers started extensive relief work at Port Blair & Little Andaman, Hut Bay Islands among other districts. 

Free cooked food was supplied to 10000 people for almost 3 months in 5 camps in addition to distribution of essential dry food and ingredients.


Hospital for the Tsunami-affected

Construction of a peripheral hospital is being planned for the tsunami affected people at a cost of $5 million at Kolkata, west Bengal. The Sangha had initially planned the construction of a hospital at Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Owing to the unavailability of medical personnel and the lack of infrastructural support at the islands, a decision to develop the hospital at Kolkata was taken. 

The Sangha will organize to transport these people to Kolkata and will offer accommodation free of cost. Families and patients will be looked after by the Sangha during the duration of their stay. Medical and other expenses will be subsidized rates.