Emergency and Disaster Response

Most organizations intervene in cases of emergencies, disasters, and natural calamities only after the event has occurred. This post-disaster response is usually through partnerships with the governments of affected states. This often compromises an organization’s ability to question the state on its post-disaster response. SLIC’s Emergency and Disaster Response Initiative is unique because it is not bound any such limitation. As an independent organization, which takes a rights-based approach to post disaster relief and rehabilitation, this Initiative has the advantage of being able to ensure transparency and accountability in all its relief work.

What SLIC Does

Over the years SLIC has responded in times of disasters such as during the 2006 Jammu and Kashmir earthquake, the 2005 Mumbai floods, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake, and the 1993 Maharashtra Latur Earthquake by providing direct legal assistance for obtaining relief and rehabilitation, organizing legal awareness camps, and conducting fact finding missions.

 SLIC believes that steps must be taken to arrest spending on inappropriate or poorly conceived aid programmes. Corruption and misuse of aid money must be checked. The utility of programmes and pattern of government spending of huge sums of aid must be evaluated.

Main Concerns

·      The Indian government has no long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction strategies for people affected by disasters
·      Corruption and misuse of aid money
·      The unpreparedness of the central and state governments for disaster management
·      The exclusion of affected communities and the lack of emphasis on the basic principles of sustainable development
·      The government’s slow and discriminatory practices in providing compensation, housing, or relocation for victims
·      Lack of awareness amongst affected populations of the relief/rehabilitation schemes to which they are entitled
·      The frequently changing nature of relief/rehabilitation schemes and short notice periods for making claims

SLIC Impact

In 2004, members of our team visited all the tsunami-affected areas in Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, focusing on three aspects of post disaster relief and rehabilitation: Monitoring the formulation of reformation and rehabilitation packages and their equitable disbursement, providing direct legal assistance to affected people, disseminating information regarding government relief packages through training and community level interactions.

During the 2005 Mumbai floods, our team successfully got relief material for affected people with special focus on disabled persons living in slums and low lying areas.

In response to the floods the Mumbai unit in collaboration with several prominent citizen’s groups gathered relief material to offer direct assistance to affected people. This involved a special focus on disabled persons living in slums and low-lying areas. A case was also filed before the Mumbai High Court, for compensation for the dead and missing.

During the 2006 Kashmir earthquake, our team responded by assisting victims to file applications for relief and ensuring their rehabilitation. The Kashmir unit volunteered with other organisations to work for the earthquake victims. It assisted the people in filing applications for relief and getting their claims. The unit also intervened and filed many cases for the proper disbursement of the relief as promised by the government.
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