Dawn of responsive attitude amongst the frivolous Nicobarese tribe is the harbinger of indispensable sustainability in DRR initiatives in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands…
James Reuben, a 12 years old boy, who stayed beside the Senior Secondary School near the seashore at the village of Malacca, Car Nicobar when the ferocious Tsunami struck the island of peace on 26th December, 2004, scampered away with his father and the rest of his family towards the jungle in the interior of the island, immediately after the islanders heard the bloodcurdling sound of the tsunami waves approaching the island that reminded some of them of the earsplitting hoot of a gargantuan anaconda.
Now, four odd years after one of the most devastating catastrophes that humankind has ever been witness to, James Reuben, a 16 years old maturing teenager has been selected by WBVHA’s Child Led Disaster Risk Reduction (CLDRR) team as a promising member of the Search & Rescue wing of the Task Force Group (TFG) of the village of Malacca.
While attending the comprehensive training for “Strengthening of the TFGs” at New Malacca, where he, now, stays with his family in the permanent shelter provided to them by the A & N Administration, James says ruefully in his Nicobarese tongue, “If, at all, we had the requisite fundamental knowledge and expertise and the Rescue & First Aid kits and the other essential equipments that WBVHA & Save the Children - BRB have now provided to us, at the time tsunami had struck, quite a lot of lives would have been saved”.
James, now, makes sure that he doesn’t miss a single training session, awareness program and other participatory learning and action (PLA) exercises organized by WBVHA under the purview of the visionary CLDRR project.
He is a regular learner and a partaker who motivates the other members of the community to practice the techniques and methods taught by WBVHA’s proficient trainers and instructors.
The Nicobarese community was busy head over heels during the month of March, 2009, observing the holy fasting of 40 days which lasts up to Easter. Hence, all the Village Headmen had denied WBVHA the permission to conduct any activities during the months of March & April.
Nevertheless, with the Program Coordinator meeting the Bishop of Diocese, A & N Islands, Rt. Rev. Christopher Paul and convincing him of the inevitable need of carrying out the necessary training and awareness programs without a hitch with the imperative participation of the community for the far-reaching welfare of the entire Nicobarese community, all the village Headmen were directed by the Bishop to permit the WBVHA project team to conduct the same, who saw reason and the significance of the CLDRR initiatives of WBVHA.
Bishop of Diocese, A & N Islands in the pink shirt with the Deputy Commissioner, Nicobars, Mr. Srikanth being garlanded by WBVHA staff.
Shrinath Vashishtha, Program Coordinator of WBVHA handing over the Health & Rescue Kits to Mr. Lionel Nicomede, the First Headman of the village of Chukchucha, Car Nicobar Island, accompanied by Mr. Peterson Job, the mercurial Second Headman.
Case Study prepared by -