Guest Post on Chennai floods by CONCERNED CITIZENS AND ACTIVIST GROUPS
[Earlier today we had published a post on the Chennai floods. The following is a report of a Survey on losses sustained during the floods, conducted by Arunodhaya: Centre for Street and Working Children; Bhavani Raman; Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG); Karen Coelho, Kavin Malar; Krishnaveni; Madhumita Dutta; Vettiver Collective; Prem Revathi; Priti Narayan; Students of Madras Christian College; TN Labour blog; and V. Geetha]
Sample Survey of Losses Sustained During Chennai Floods
With special reference to losses and damages of possessions, loss of workdays and damage to homes
A group of concerned citizens involved in relief work post-Chennai floods, 20015 undertook a sample survey of 610 households (including migrants) across the city to assess losses suffered/damages incurred to homes, goods, occupational tools and also to get an idea of loss of working days. The purpose of this survey was to identify the exact quantum of losses sustained by the population and to direct government to compensate the populace for damages/loss accruing on account of the floods.
- Places surveyed: Eekaduthangal, Jaffarkhanpet, Saidpet, Kotturpuram (Adyar flood plains), Mudichur (badly affected suburb), Semmencheri, Perumbakkam (resettlement/new housing tenements for low-income groups), Kodungaiyur, Ponneri (outlying suburbs with poor infrastructural developments.
- More than 95% of people surveyed had not received warnings about impending flooding.
- Inhabitants of over 85% of households surveyed have lost 25-40 working days and concomitant wages, ranging from Rs 250-500/per day.
- Almost all households had lost or were left with irretrievably damaged certificates, household articles, including fridge, washing machine, grinder, mixers, lights, fans, stoves, tools of trade, children’s books, cycles and in some cases bikes and scooters.
- Total losses sustained by households range from Rs 75,000 (including wages lost and cost of damage to homes) to Rs 50,000.
Continue reading Survey Report on Losses Sustained during Chennai Floods: Concerned Citizens and Activist Groups
Guest post by PRITI NARAYAN
[This article is followed by a detailed survey report on the losses sustained by people during the Chennai floods, which can be read here.]
“How, in an age that venerates the instant and the spectacular, can one turn attritional calamities starring nobody into stories dramatic enough to rouse public sentiment,” asks scholar Rob Nixon, in his discussion of Rachel Carson’s seminal 1962 book Silent Spring. It is a question worth asking now, in the aftermath of the floods in Chennai.
The floods were spectacular, the initial neglect by the national Indian media notwithstanding. Enough has been written about both about the floods themselves, and the spectacle of thousands of Chennai residents pouring onto the streets and into the water to undertake rescue, relief and rehabilitation work. Now that the spectacle is fading and the celebration of the city’s spirit is dying down, perhaps we can examine the floods more objectively. Not that the deluge has not deserved the attention it has received – reports estimate that over 400 lives have been claimed, and anywhere between 1.8 to 2 million people have been displaced.
But we do not talk as much about the “attritional calamity” that involves the dispossession of the poor of their land and their subsequent displacement to the peripheries of the city.The lack of affordable housing stock has historically led the poor to occupy land in the central city, from where they access livelihood and educational opportunities. Their location in the city has enabled them to contribute invaluable labour and services to the city’s economy. Off late however, development projects are putting immense pressure on land in the Indian city. Strategies to make a world class city –“beautification”, “development” and “eco-restoration” – envision no place for the poor in Chennai.Transparent Cities Network estimates that at least 1,50,000people from 63 slums have been displaced for development projects over the course of the last 15 years. Not all those displaced have been rehabilitated: at least 22,000 people have been left homeless. There are no estimates of the number of people who have died during displacement or after resettlement, but the instances of crime(including trafficking, prostitution, and mafia-style murders) and suicides in these government-created ghettoes tell a sordid tale. Continue reading Slow violence and the Spectacle – Dispossession, segregation, and the Chennai Floods: Priti Narayan