Nagapattinam was the most devastated district in the Indian mainland in the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 with the highest number of human lives lost (over 6000), besides loss of livelihoods and property. The NGO Co-ordination and Resource Centre (NCRC), Nagapattinam, was set up on 1st January 2005 as an emergency response to the Tsunami. A joint initiative of two prominent local NGOs—SIFFS (www.siffs.org) and SNEHA—with assistance from the UNDP, and supported by the District Administration, NCRC was a successful model that enabled cooperation and coordination in disaster relief, recovery and rehabilitation in the district.

In the three years of its work, NCRC's highly competent interventions resulted in a series of initiatives -- from multi-stakeholder co-ordination to social audits; specific interventions for target groups such as children, and policy advocacy. Beyond programme implementation, NCRC focused on co-evolving, synergizing, and channelling interventions for communities, NGOs, and the administration in collaboration with higher-level organizations such as the IITs, research institutions and universities, ISRO, the State and Central Government. Many of these resulted in much longer-term development initiatives but there were many articulated problems, yet to be addressed, at the grassroots. 

Nagapattinam has the longest coastline in the state of Tamil Nadu and is at the tail end of the Cauvery delta. Criss-crossed by rivers and canals, and beset alternately by droughts and floods, this district is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change, as much of the district lies below mean sea level. Communities involved in agriculture--the mainstay of the populace -- and fisheries are perceived to be at the risk of being turned into ecological refugees. Hence, climate change mitigation strategies need to be built into the long term development plans of this area. Since, by design, NCRC was a pro term structure, and was to be dismantled in Dec 2007, the Steering Committee of NCRC, in consultation with other internal and external stakeholders, decided to set up a longer-term legal entity that would take forward the initiatives launched by NCRC. This would also create a permanent mechanism that would design and pilot grassroots interventions which could be handed over to internal takeholders such as local NGOs,communities, local government or traditional community organizations.

This new organization is BEDROC (Building and Enabling Disaster Resilience of Coastal Communities), a Trust registered in January 2008. The mandate of BEDROC is long term, and focuses on integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into the mainstream development agenda for building up the resilience of this highly vulnerable coastal district.