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Perspectives: A Tsunami Journal

Photo by Max Martin
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Local hero
Pazhaverkadu, Tamil Nadu

Velu is fisherman finishing his final year Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English literature. He sometimes skips lectures on Shakespeare's Tempest to brave the waves and wind for his livelihood. "I have a certain element of fear now," he says. Tsunami waves had submerged his village called Light House Nadukuppam, located on thin strip of land sandwiched between the Bay of Bengal and the backwaters. "I managed to get a boat and rescue a few people," he says adding that it was local fishermen who alerted the villagers and rowed them across the backwaters to safety - limiting the number of deaths in Pazhaverkadu islands and estuaries to 16. Later they found shelter in relief camps opened by the government. Now Velu is the leader of the local youth club, active in rehabilitation and emerging disaster preparedness initiatives.
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