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French town chips in for tsunami relief

S. Nadarajan

Resources were pooled in to help affected fishermen

PONDICHERRY: Television images of death and destruction unleashed by the December 26, 2004 tsunami across the fishing hamlets in Pondicherry and Karaikal, struck a chord with people of Sarge, a town in France.

The citizens immediately came together under the non-governmental voluntary service organisation — `Solidarite Sarge Tamilnadu of Sarthe' in France — and made contributions in the form of mechanised boats and nets.

Transport vans

The requirements of fisherwomen (who lost their husbands in the tragedy) were identified and distribution of fish transport vans was arranged.

Solidarite's president Manivassagane and his wife Monique Manivassagane were in Pondicherry recently to hold talks with the Department of Fisheries and Fishermen Welfare officials on providing mechanised boats, nets and vans to fisherwomen in the coastal villages of Pondicherry and Karaikal.

Beneficiaries selected

The list available with the department was utilised to select beneficiaries for the relief and rehabilitation programme.

Mr. Manivassagane said prior to the handing over of mechanised boats to the women from Chinna Kalapet, Kanagachettikulam and Periakalapet here on Tuesday, around 20,000 euros were mobilised by residents of the French town towards meeting the capital required for disbursing the livelihood packages.

He said his organisation was providing free supply of a bag of rice every month to Jawala, a home for the mentally challenged children, in Mudaliarpet block.

This would continue for a year. Garments were also distributed to the inmates.

Mr. Manivassagane said that his organisation had donated tumblers, food plates and a tape recorder to the School for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind at Pillaichavady.

Deputy Directors of Fisheries Department C. Balu and R Ilangovan thanked Mr. Manivassagane and his wife for their gesture.

Thiagarajan from Rainbow Nagar here facilitated implementation of the French-based organisation's scheme.

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