Yesterday [mid-January 2005] I visited Panchayat Union Elementary School in Akkaraipettai in Nagapattinam, a governmental school. It was one of the worst affected schools in the area. A lot of school buildings and the entire infrastructure had collapsed and the school was not in running condition.
This school was situated 500m away from the shore and 1 km. South of Nagapattinam, and catered to the educational needs of the fishermen in the area. The total strength of the school was 731 students from Standards I to V with 1 head master and 16 teachers. The total area of the school was 1,35 acres (58806 sq.ft.)
After the disaster 50 to 60 School kids passed away (440 passed away in the Panchayat alone)
They have now requested the following from the government:
- Compound wall - Rs. 2,25,000
- Furniture - Rs. 2,50,000
- Computer - 50,000 (two numbers)
- Sand filling due to erosion - Rs. 45,000
- Fans & Light fittings - Rs. 30,000
- Rostrum - Rs. 3,000
- Class room wooden Partition - Rs. 36,000
- Sports Materials - Rs. 10,000
- Building Maintenance - Rs. 50,000
The basic necessities has been provided, like writing materials, drinking water system, and they do not have any shortage of food.
Classes are currently conducted given with students sitting on the ground.There is a shortage of playing material, and the surroundings look devastated. I suggest we plant some trees in that area to make the sorroundings look natural. Mr. Shomasunder from Avvai, whom I am working with right now is helping me,to ensure that contributions are appropriately handled.
I will be visiting orphanages in the area, some of them that have already been built while others are being built. I understand that there is an another school in the area, even more affected.
My question to Bhoomika; "How can we help the schools? Are funding, or material available to help?
The head masters' phone number is 94435 73744 (Mr.Balan). I have not spoken to him yet.