Their complaints have fallen on deaf ears at the municipal office

Nagapattinams tsunami survivors continue to brave natures elements
news Tsunami colony Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 13:39
Written by  Pheba Mathew

About 2000 families at Sellur in Nagapattinam will never forget December 24, 2004 – the day the sea entered their houses. But more than 11 years on, there been no end to their miseries.

“It was horrible, the tsunami destroyed all our houses, we could see houses floating in the water, we took our children and ran,” recounts 50-year-old Vasantha, a domestic help. 

The tsunami left death, destruction and debris behind across the coast of Nagapattinam. Thousands were left homeless, including those from Nallian Thotam and Nahur villages.

As a temporary arrangement, the villagers relocated to tents in Nagapattinam. But their temporary stay lasted two years. “We lived in that settlement for two years from 2005 to 2007. But unfortunately, there was a fire in one of tents and it spread and burnt all the tents,” says Vasantha.

In 2007, a Tsunami colony was built for survivors at Sellur, about five kilometres away from Nagapattinam.

Vasantha and her family shifted to their new home in December 2007 along with many others. “The government has given the house to us. They have not cared about us after that,” she notes.

The biggest complaint for people living in these houses is that water seeps through their walls, every time it rains. “The water starts falling into our house. There are days when it reaches below our knees. We cannot even sleep here at night on those days,” says Sugana, a housewife.

Several houses are stamped with water patches on the walls.  “Because of the water accumulation in our houses and outside, our children keep having fever and cold,” laments Sugana.

Their complaints have fallen on deaf ears at the municipal office.   “No one responds or comes to fix our problems,” complains Jyothi, a housewife.

 The drinking water comes once in two days and that also, for one hour. “We have to use about five buckets of drinking water for two days,” she points out.

Some people also complained about losing certificates in the tsunami and the fire. “We had lost all our certificates in tsunami but got duplicates after that. But we again lost it in the fire. Most of the people here are daily wage labourers they do not have the time to run behind government departments for certificates and documents,” argues Michael Rani, an accountant.

With properly fixed roofs being beyond the means of many, the residents of tsunami colony are, for now, resigned to braving the elements.

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