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President Bill Clinton, UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery visits UN projects in Tamil Nadu

© Graphic Stills/UNICEF/2005
The District Collector for Nagapattinam Mr. J. Radhakrishnan shows Mr. Clinton around the ITI Shelter

Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, 27 May 2005: Former United States President Bill Clinton, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Tsunami Recovery, visited Nagapattinam and Chennai on 27 May.

In Nagapattinam, President Clinton visited the NGO Coordination and Resource Centre and an Industrial Technical Institute (ITI) temporary shelter.  At the ITI ICDS Centre run by UNICEF, 98 children are registered and there are no cases of severe malnourishment.  During the visit, the Special Envoy met and talked with NGO representatives and tsunami survivors, interacted with women tsunami survivors who have attended skills training and viewed award-winning disaster-resistant shelter designs and a photo exhibition on the tsunami.

The ITI is one of five urban shelters in Nagapattinam. It is formed from three villages: Silladi Nagar (Muslim community), Pattinacheri, (Fishermen community), Manakudi (Scheduled caste community) with a total population of 4284. Overall responsibility for the shelter lies with the District Collector and on a day-to-day basis the “Block Development Office” is responsible for ensuring that services and security are maintained. The Shelter is being managed with United Nations’ support.

© Graphic Stills / UNICEF / 2005
President Clinton, UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, helps in weighing an infant at the ICDS Centre. UNICEF supplied toys, nutritional supplements, weighing scales and water tanks to 125 temporary centres after the tsunami.

During the visit, the Special Envoy saw the water and sanitation conditions in the shelter and met with youth volunteers called "Link Leaders" trained by UNICEF to monitor water and hygiene facilities and promote good hygiene practices.  UNICEF trained 84 young volunteers in Tamil Nadu (17 in the ITI Shelter).  UNICEF also worked with 93 women's Self Help Groups in Tamil Nadu (3 in the ITI shelter) in 38 shelters, providing the group with small monthly stripends (Rs.2000/month), to promote hygiene, use and upkeep of latrines.

Mr. Clinton also met and spoke with tsunami survivors and their families and was visibly moved by their stories of personal loss.  He also heard about the key role these centres have played in ensuring the health and recovery of children and the psychosocial support they have received. UNICEF has a training programme where over 270 Nehru Yuva Kendra youth trainers and volunteers are trained to lead out-of-school children in play activities, games and songs to help them recover from the trauma of the tsunami.

Later in the evening Mr. Clinton met with the media at Chennai and reiterated the UN's commitment to fast track relief funds to the affected areas in India and other parts of south-east asia.

 

 

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