i. Making available temporary shelters so that there is an immediate roof over their heads.

ii. Arranging for first aid simultaneously so that lives are saved. Health care should ensure that there is no outbreak of diseases in the shelters.

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iii. Restoring means of communication to help people be in touch and be able to locate their friends and relatives.

iv. Providing loans, grants and subsidies to help these people stand back on their feet.

v. Organizing for employment of the displaced persons.

vi. Promoting a high morale to eradicate feelings of hopelessness.

In India, these activities are usually carried out by the government along with various non­governmental organizations. However, it needs to be ensured that the resources that have been provided are allocated properly.

Public assistance in the form of relief funds should be well organized and managed. The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund has proven to be an effective tool in rehabilitation of victims of natural disasters in the recent past.

Rehabilitation of People Displaced by Development Projects:

Very often, tribals and people living on the margins of society have to vacate their lands to make way for new development activities. Construction of dams, industries, and mines forces residents of the area to be dislocated and leave their homes, property and society and move to a totally different place where they do not belong. When communities have lived at a particular region for many years, their culture, traditions and traditional knowledge have got interlinked with the local resources of that region.

Their skills based on which their livelihoods depend, have also been honed according to the available resources. These traditions, skills and knowledge have been passed down the generations. Hence, it is extremely difficult for people to leave all this, and move to a new region, which is totally unfamiliar to them. This leads to economic and psychological problems for the displaced people. Under such circumstances we need to be careful that during rehabilitation:

i. Displaced persons get their rightful share of property.

ii. That they are provided with immense emotional support to face the conflicts arising from moving from their homes.

iii. To appropriately compensate the displaced persons.

iv. To ensure that they get the right means of livelihood so that they are able to maintain their standard of living and earning.

v. Provide them with all the resources they will need.

A farmer should be compensated with agricultural lands and so on.

i. A good idea is to resettle them as part of the new development project. This will ensure that they remain close to the environment they understand so well and they retain their customs and traditional knowledge.

There are a number of other man-made activities that often lead to displacement of people. Deforestation and mining are some examples of how people are removed from their shelters and livelihood at the stroke of an axe or explosion. It needs to be understood that such displacement causes financial as well as emotional displacement for the persons concerned.

Therefore, the government and NGOs need to make a concerted effort to rehabilitate these people sufficiently. Such displacement should be properly planned and all efforts should be made to ensure that all the rehabilitation for a new development is worth the effort.

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