Tsunami Stories: Sivagnanam Nallathambi – Sri Lanka

On the day of the tsunami, there was an event happening in the Temple. We had been taking part in the event and when we were returning I saw people running away from the shore towards us screaming and shouting. Suddenly I saw sea waves 6 feet high coming towards us. Everyone ran. I saw people shouting and looking for their kids. The third wave came suddenly. We ran again but I got caught up in the wave and all the debris. I narrowly escaped being ripped up on a barbed-wire fence. Luckily we survived. Once the third wave receded we managed to escape to safer areas. Later we were sheltered in a camp for displaced people. Over 348 bodies were found in this area, mostly women, children and elders. My mother and uncle died in the tsunami. We were scared to return to this village. We thought waves might come again so we went to temporary shelter and took refuge there. We spent one year and one month living in temporary shelters. During this period it was difficult to make a living… and our kids couldn’t study properly. We formed a village community group and began rebuilding our lives and homes. Red Volunteers, Red Cross Engineers and technical officers all helped us. After the tsunami people were psychologically affected. They lost their loved ones. They lost everything they had and they just didn’t know what to do. Now everyone has moved on from the past, they are looking to the future… by educating their kids and getting on with their livelihoods. people have come back to normal now. We will never forget the help given by the Red Cross The counseling services were really good. They helped our children to cope with the stress. The Red Cross gave us hope.

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