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Memories of Indian Ocean tsunami haunt survivors

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Memories of Indian Ocean tsunami haunt survivors



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The Indian Ocean quake and tsunami ten years ago caused huge numbers of deaths across coastal villages and towns but also devastated the lives of millions of villagers.

In the southern Indian town of Nagapattinam nearly 6,000 residents perished, mostly the families of fishermen.

Lakshmi lost four of her children on that dark day and a decade later is still struggling to cope with the devastation the tsunami brought:

“I am always worried about my son as he is unable to walk properly. What’s going to happen to him? Every day I have to take him to the hospital for his physiotherapy and injections. Now I have three problems: looking after my family, earning enough money and my boy. Because of these I can’t even eat properly.”

For the past six years, Lakshmi has earned money in whatever way possible in order to get the proper treatment for her son, in the hope of seeing him lead a normal life.

“I have mortgaged my jewellery and with the compensation money that we got from the tsunami I’ve been surviving. We’ve already spent a lot of money from that fund and we have also borrowed money from our neighbours,” said Lakshmi.

Her husband Kolandavelu leaves home early in the morning to play cards with friends and comes home late after drinking alcohol as a way of dealing with his pain.

He has also started to fish again at sea, but rarely contributes any money.

“ When I earn enough then I give some money to my family but if I don’t earn good money then I just don’t,” explains Kolandavelu.

There are many families in a similar situation in the region. The deadly tsunami left thousands of people homeless, many children orphaned and large numbers with devastating lifelong injuries.


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