Chennai

Victims of 2015 floods get a roof over their heads

Members of the Bhoomika Trust with the beneficiaries on Thursday.

Members of the Bhoomika Trust with the beneficiaries on Thursday.

For Valli and Chitra, residents of Manjankarnai, the floods of December 2015 left almost all the houses in their neighbourhood battered. “Our thatched houses were completely destroyed and while we tried to rebuild our homes, there was the constant fear that we would be affected if it rained again,” said Chitra, who works as a domestic help.

A few days ago, Chitra was relieved when, with her three children, she moved into a concrete house constructed by the Bhoomika Trust at Manjankarai. The NGO has been working with families whose homes were destroyed in Poondi, Manjankarai and Manamathi, which were inundated.

Long-term rehabilitation

“While we were initially working on rescue and relief operations in these areas, the trust wanted to go beyond this and look at long-term rehabilitation efforts. It took us a long time to identify the localities and families that needed homes and we then approached the communities there to work with them, as well create confidence so that they participated actively,” said Aruna Subramaniam, a trustee with the Bhoomika Trust.

The trust built permanent houses for 7 families in Manamathi who owned plots there. For 4 families in Manjankarai and 7 families in Poondi, temporary houses were built. Ms Aruna said the houses were designed by a team of architects which came up with a specific low-cost housing model which they believe is scalable. With the help of donors, each house was constructed in around 3 months at a budget of about ₹3 lakh.

“The houses have a hall, bedroom and a separate toilet, as well as a bath area. We came up with the design keeping the locality and the needs of the people in mind while stressing on the need to maintain hygiene and sanitation,” said Tahaer Zoyab, the architect who designed the houses.

Arun Bharathi, from Bharathi homes, who was one of the contractors which helped build the homes, said they ensured the materials were sourced locally and that there was a solid interaction established with the families during the construction process.

P. Jayendra, a trustee with Bhoomika, said they were looking to build more houses in the coming year based on the same model.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 12:28:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/victims-of-2015-floods-get-a-roof-over-their-heads/article18386122.ece