Responding to disasters in South Asia has been long standing strategy of SOCHARA especially since many of the pioneers associated with the evolution of SOCHARA had their own life changing experiences in disaster responses including the East Pakistan Refugee Camps (1971); Andhra Cyclone (1978) and other disasters.
Over the years SOCHARA has responded to a range of disasters in South Asia which includes the following:
- Cyclones: Bangladesh, Andhra, Odisha
- Earthquakes: Uttarakhand, Latur, Bhuj and Nepal
- Refugees: Tamils in Sri Lanka, Tibetan Refugees in India
- Floods: Raichur and Chennai
- Communal Riots: Gujarat
- Tsunami: Tamilnadu
Environmental Disasters: See section on Environment and Occupational Health
Recently as preparation for volunteers a short power point on the SOCHARA experience and a check list of components for orientation, enhancing communitization of the response and policy planning issues has been prepared.
Report on Core Faculty Training Workshop on Disaster Preparedness
Dr. Shirdi Prasad Tekur of SOCHARA participated as core faculty in a training workshop on disaster preparedness for faculty of medical colleges sponsored by WHO and facilitated by National Teacher Training Centre, JIPMER, Pondicherry, 1991.
India Disaster Report 1999
In 1999 SOCHARA participated in the development of the "India Disasters Report: Towards a Policy Initiative” edited by Parasuraman S and Unnikrishnan P V and published by Oxford University Press. CHC-SOCHARA was a member of the External Review Team of the whole book and specifically contributed a chapter on Epidemics: Diseases as Disaster. The chapter was co-authored by C M Francis (Consultant), Ravi Narayan, Rajan Patil and C Umesh - Members of the SOCHARA team.
Disaster Management: A Reader
SOCHARA participated regularly in the Annual Course on Disaster Management for senior IAS officers across the country facilitated by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. Every batch had a training on Health and Psycho-social consequences of disaster by various team members and associates of SOCHARA. A reader was published which includes a special section on Health and Psychosocial Consequences of Disaster – Bangalore Response authored by Dr. Sanjiv Lewin, a SOCHARA associate.
The Tsunami response of SOCHARA
Post-Tsunami disaster: Peoples Health Movement Dialogue
SOCHARA was the host of the Global PHM Secretariat from 2005 to 2007. Among many initiatives during this phase a Global PHM workshop on Disaster Response and the Politics and Power of Aid was organized in Chennai in 2005. This workshop was adapted into a short film ‘Goodwill is Not Enough” and a Chennai Declaration which highlighted the key challenges on Funding, Solidarity and Collective Response to disaster management emerged. As an innovative measure to monitor and learn from the disaster response during the Tsunami the Global Secretariat facilitated the setting up of a Tsunami Response Watch. PHM Members also responded to the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Thailand and India (the later including the SOCHARA response)
Post Tsunami Times
A compilation of key disaster oriented documents focusing on Humanitarian Aid to Community Empowerment: Challenges and Post-Tsunami disaster Strategies was prepared as a background material by PHM / CHC For A People’s Health Movement Dialogue- Workshop 8-9 April 2005, Chennai. This was evolved by the SOCHARA team (Naveen and Ravi) which was used then and subsequently to orient and prepare volunteers before they headout to a disaster response.
Lessons from the Tsunami response
Responding to the Tsunami disaster of 2004 was a particularly significant initiative for SOCHARA since it led ultimately to the development of the first SOCHARA extension Unit (CEU-Tamilnadu). This unusual journey has been reported during the CHC Jubilee 2009 through the publication - The Journey Beyond the Waves: Learnings from CHC's work with Tsunami affected communities.
Disaster Preparedness Module in Public Health Training
Disaster preparedness and response competency Module in RGIPH-MPH Honors course 2014.