An assessment report of the situation in Tamil Nadu following devastating floods on 9 November, 2015, finds that Dalit households are the main victims of the flood and are not receiving relief from the Government, despite non-Dalits having received such relief. Statistics reveal that more than 95% of the houses damaged due to the flooding that were surveyed are Dalit houses while Dalits have not received any shelter relief from the Government. The report “No Respite for Dalits in Disaster Response, Tamil Nadu” has been released by National Dalit Watch and Social Awareness Society for Youth – Tamil Nadu.
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Here is what Dr. Ambedkar had said about the discrimination in charity almost 70 years back and this is still true,
“Go into the field of charity. With one or two exceptions all charity in India is communal. If a Parsi dies, he leaves his money for Parsis. If a Jain dies, he leaves his money for Jains. If a Marwadi dies, he leaves his money for Marwadis. If a Brahmin dies, he leaves his money for Brahmins. Thus, there is no room for the downtrodden and the outcastes in politics, in industry, in commerce, and in education.”
The assessment team surveyed 8392 households, just under 41% of these were Dalit households. Some of the most striking statistical findings in the report reveal that 90% of those injured in the flooding were Dalits, 95% of the houses damaged were Dalit houses, 92% of livestock damaged belonged to Dalits and that 86% of crop losses were sustained by Dalits.
It is unfortunate when relief and rehabilitation should be done without considering caste or creed, in reality it doesn’t happen. Research has shown time and again that in large scale disasters, communities at the bottom of the caste hierarchy are also the last to receive relief benefits, if they receive it at all.