Tsunami survivors relive the great tragedy

Tsunami survivors relive  the great tragedy

 The wounds might have healed but the scars remain. Marimuthu never thought a stroll on the beach would prove fatal. On December 26, 2004, he was walking on the sands of Marina when a giant tsunami struck. And nothing was heard about him since nor was his body found, leaving his relatives distraught.

Marimuthu (42) is not an isolated case. Thousands across Tamil Nadu, including in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Kanniyakumari districts, went missing in the tsunami leaving their families in a similar fate even as the ninth anniversary of the tragedy is being observed by lighting candles and offering floral tributes at memorials in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

“I am always thinking of my husband, who perished in the tsunami", Marimuthu’s wife Kamakshi said, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

The massive tsunami, triggered by deadly tidal waves, had claimed over 8,000 lives and devastated coastal districts of Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanniyakumari leaving a trail of death and destruction.

The fishermen community were rattled by the trail of devastation left behind by the tidal waves which also swept away some of their age-old customs and practices in life.

Though the state and central governments, including non governmental organisations, have constructed hundreds of houses in the tsunami-affected areas, lack of community involvement in the choice of housing site and house design, has given rise to conflict and resistance to relocation.
“The new habitations created for accommodating the coastal community lack basic utilities such as ration shops, primary health centres, schools, and graveyards”, M Kuppusamy, Tamil Nadu Fishermen Association member, said.

“Absence of community consultation and participation, and the lack of involvement of the affected community in decision making together with the lack of information about the reconstruction process exacerbated the problem”, Kumarasamy, working with an NGO in Nagapittinam district said.
In addition, the predominant thought of post tsunami is still occupying the minds of the fishing community, he said.

Reports from Cuddalore said that the 'tsunami memory pillar' in Devanampattinam in that district was already decorated with flowers to mark the anniversary. Various artists in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have started making sand sculptures at different places on the seashore depicting the horrors of the tsunami.

The fishermen living in tsunami hit coastal districts have decided not to venture into the sea on Thursday as a mark of respect to the tsunami victims.

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