The Tsunami that hit the south-eastern coast of India resulted in an immediate action by NGO's throughout the country in rushing requirements and providing relief to the victims. The South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS) and SNEHA, NGO's working in the fishing initiated an NGO Coordination Centre (NCC) in Nagapattinam District Collectorate since January 1st 2005 for enabling a more coordinated action and interaction between the District Administration, NGOs and areas affected by the Tsunami in the district.

Nagapattinam was the worst affected district on the Indian mainland, and expectedly attracted the greatest attention from both the Government and Civil Society. The senior officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) of the Government of Tamilnadu, knowing the value of NGO's in any crisis situation, responded by establishing a strong working relationship with the NGO Co-ordination centre.

During the first month of relief operations, the NGO Co-ordination Centre ensured a transparent relationship with the Government Officers on a daily basis. About 400 NGO's registered at the centre during the first few days. Using these volunteers the NGO Co-ordination centre setup a two way information flow on the requirements of the villages and the materials available with the Government and NGOs.

In about a weeks time NGO's formed sectoral groups relating to shelter, livelihoods, trauma counselling, health and sanitation, children, etc, which flagged the critical issues in the sector, and undertook collective responsibility to try and address these on the ground.

The success of these sectoral groups in addressing issues resulted in the need for continuing the Government - NGO co-ordination into the Rehabilitation phase. However unlike in the relief phase the rehabilitation phase requires a systematic structure lasting about one to two years and the need for physical meetings are reduced. Instead, coordination of knowledge resources, which includes access to and exchange of sectoral and regional perspectives, technical expertise, reliable data and its synergy with policy formulations, becomes a critical need for all stakeholders in the rehabilitation phase - especially for NGOs and donors in their respective areas of interest.

In view of the above, SIFFS and SNEHA decided to transform the NGO Coordination Centre into a rehabilitation resource centre, called "NGO Co-ordination and Resource Centre" or NCRC in short, with an aim of providing a range of services to the communities and organizations involved in the rehabilitation process. The UNDP also became a strategic partner at this juncture.



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