The Tamil Nadu Drought - May 2017

John Fernandes who is the Director of MASARD, SOTE’s partner in India, talks to SOTE about the current drought facing rural communities in Tamil Nadu.

"The worst drought in 140 years is badly affecting our Hosur community. Due to the worst rainfall in the last 140 years, Tamil Nadu is facing a severe drought and the people in rural areas are suffering. The annual rainfall recorded in 2016 is 82% less than the year before. It appears this is the result of climate change taking place globally. 

Drought is a serious natural hazard with far reaching impacts including soil damage, economic losses and threatening the livelihoods and health of local residents.  Farmers are the worst affected. Their crops charred, and their livestock dying due to non-availability of fodder. Farming groups claim that over 400 farmers committed suicide as they failed to pay back the loans they had taken or died due to shock at seeing all their investments disappear.  Since March 14th 2017, a group of 80 drought hit farmers held demonstrations at Jantar Mantar in Delhi with skulls of farmers who committed suicide, dead rats, even rolled on the ground naked to draw attention to their plight. These protests have now continued in Chennai at the Collectorate office. Against the farmers demand of 40,000 crores for drought relief, and waiver of their Bank loans, the Central Government has released just 3000 crores which the farmers feel is just a drop in the ocean. It is simply not enough support. 

The farmers in the villages in Hosur where SOTE works have been badly affected. Many of these families are in immediate need of food and are requesting urgent assistance in the form of dry food or groceries. MASARD are working to support the immediate demands of villagers and in 2017, SOTE are delivering a water project aimed at reducing levels of water scarcity in the area."

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