Fisherman await relief to restore life
CUDDALORE: It has been one month since the December 26 'tsunami' struck the Indian cost and left a scene of destruction. However, at Singartopu, a little village in Cuddalore district, there is no evidence of the destruction.
Vetri, a native of the village tries hard to prove that he had a house below the heap of sand he is standing on. He put his hand through the sand to pull out some clothes, implying that all his belongings that were buried inside. Glum and dejected with everything lost, he said that only Rs 4000 that had reached him as relief, is almost over.
But other fishermen in Akrai Goru, a hamlet a few yards away, have a different tale all together. The village has received overwhelming help. The locals have been provided with temporary shelters and provisions for food and other essentials. These have been given by an NGO, 'World Vision'.
Vijay Kumar, a well-off fisherman, , is optimistic about the future. Though he lost three of his boats to the waves, he is confident that the community will recover from this catastrophe. "The problem is not of food but of building our boats. Each one would cost from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. We are waiting for this money to come from either the NGO's or the government," he said. However, if the money comes, it is only half the problem solved, as even if the boats are rebuilt they cannot enter the sea. The Tsunami has left a huge deposit of sand in the Muyuthuvalam channel that joins the Uppanar River, he explained.
He further added that for the ships to move from Muyuthuvalam channel into the sea, it required a depth of minimum fifteen to eighteen feet. Since the tsunami had deposited heaps of sand in the transit, the ships could not move. Even in high tide the depth was less than 10 feet.
Few kilometres away is Devanapattinam, a village adopted by Bolloywood star Vivek Oberoi. The village has been reconstructed into temporary row of houses and tents donated by 'UK Khalsa' and 'Project Hope' under the Collector of Cuddalore. UNICEF has also provided water tanks throughout the village.
Meanwhile, on the seashore the boats lay lined up, starkly portraying the devastation . Not far away sat young fishermen whiling their time away, chatting or playing cards. They talked about several things, from their fishing nets to their daily exercises. Where they would get their next meal from was the last thing on their minds. Either the government agencies or NGOs, someone would take care of that.